According to The Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. There are many forms of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, juvenile arthritis and others. Each has its own cause, symptoms and treatment options, but each form is chronic and often debilitating.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is seen in the breakdown of joint’s cartilage. Often osteoarthritis is caused by overuse and general wear and tear on the body as the cartilage breaks down and bones rub together causing pain and limited mobility. The Arthritis Foundation lists the most common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis as:
- Joint soreness after periods of overuse or inactivity
- Stiffness after periods of rest that goes away quickly when activity resumes
- Morning stiffness, which usually lasts no more than 30 minutes
- Pain caused by the weakening of muscles surrounding the joint due to inactivity
- Joint pain is usually less common in the morning and worse in the evening after a day’s activity
- Deterioration of coordination, posture and walking due to pain and stiffness.
The treatment options for arthritis may include simple lifestyle changes such as adding supplements to your diet or more invasive treatment such as surgery. The treatment plan will likely depend on your current lifestyle, severity of the disease, and how big an impact the arthritis symptoms have on your daily life.
The cost of arthritis is growing. A study referenced by the Center for Disease Control states that from 1997 to 2005, American adults with arthritis increased their spending for arthritis-related medical expenditures from $252 billion to $353 billion. The study attributes the significant increase in spending to a 22percent increase in the number of people diagnosed with rheumatic conditions and a 15percent increase in medical expenditures per person.
In addition to the climbing financial cost of arthritis, there is also the personal, physical and emotional cost of living with the chronic condition. Seemingly simple tasks can often be a burden for those with arthritis. Opening jars, making breakfast, bathing, getting dressed and running errands around town can become tedious and painful activities. Many home modifications can make getting around your home more comfortable. However, for those who need additional help, and prefer to live in their own home rather than move to an assisted living community, hiring in-home care could be a good option.
The level and type of in-home care depends on the needs and lifestyle of the senior. Some people need extra help with cleaning as the bending motion of sweeping, mopping, dusting and cleaning is painful for their joints. Others would do best with someone who will cook their meals as moving around the kitchen can be burdensome. Whatever the needs of the individual, there are organizations that can help you determine which services would be most beneficial.
A Place For Mom, a national senior living resource, states that hourly in-home care can cost up to $24 an hour. For seniors living on a fixed income, the cost for someone to come to their home and cook or clean for them on a regular basis may be insurmountable.
A supplemental income in the form of a reverse mortgage loan could provide the extra income needed for some seniors to continue living in their home with the added assistance of in-home care. Seniors 62 and older, who have sufficient equity in their home, may be eligible for a reverse mortgage loan as a type of supplemental income.
A reverse mortgage loan allows seniors to access a portion of the equity they have built up in their home. As long as basic requirements are met such as paying off any existing mortgage and continuing to pay property taxes and insurance, the borrower can use the reverse mortgage funds however they would like, including to pay for in-home care costs. For information on how to obtain a reverse mortgage loan, call 866-751-6105.