Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans live with a bodily limitation or pain caused by osteoarthritis on a daily basis.

The objectives of any treatment plan for osteoarthritis include:

* Controlling pain and other problematic symptoms
* Improving your ability to function in daily activities

Arthritis can make it very difficult for an individual to remain physically active, contributing to an increased risk of obesity, high cholesterol or vulnerability to heart disease. Individuals with arthritis are also at increased risk of depression, which actually may be related to a fear of worsening symptoms. For seniors, a change in lifestyle and habits may be required. Living a healthy lifestyle, managing stress and depression, avoiding joint damage, and balancing rest and activity will play a key role in battling the pain and limitations that can come with osteoarthritis. YOU, or more specifically, your elderly parents are your own best advocate. Yes, there may be medications which will provide pain relief. But lifestyle decisions such as exercise and weight maintanence are hugely important.

Most treatment plans will include a combination of the following elements:

* Exercise
* Weight and diet control
* Joint protection
* Physical and occupational therapy
* Proper medications

– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: