Today I saw an article about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and I thought about how that disease has affected my family. My Grammy is 98 and has a history of RA in her hands and her knees. It is something that we have had to deal with as part of her care for the last several years. She was fortunate that at first, she didn't have pain everyday but she felt something probably weekly. There were times that she had a flare-up, usually in her legs. Four months ago she became bedridden and is no longer able to walk. This new development is extremely difficult for my Grammy on many levels. Physically she has to do physical therapy in her bed; doing her exercises every day. Her complaints of pain in her knees and her arthritis has decreased substantially and we thought her arthritis problems were basically over.
With the changes in her ability to walk we have had to bring help into the house to feed and look out for her. As a result of having new people in the house the food that Grammy was eating started to change. More prepared foods started sneaking into her diet. While I was away she had carry out fried chicken and pizza in the same week. In the past she would have one of those only on a holiday or if a special friend or family member came into town. Grammy was so excited about her fast-foods that she convinced her attendants to give her these foods on a weekly basis. As the grandchild, me voicing my opinion about this change to less nutrient dense, high calorie food was ignored. As long as she was enjoying herself that is all that mattered. A few days ago my Grammy’s attendant noticed that she had some swelling in her hands and Grammy complained of soreness and pain in her hands. My mother decided the fast food had to stop because it was causing the arthritis to come back in Grammy’s hands. The attendant too agreed that Grammy should eat no more fast food.
Of course was happy to hear about the change in menu for Grammy because I knew that particularly in older people, nutrients are vital to help them live a more vibrant life. It was a blessing that her attendant and my mom were able to see the effects diet had on Grammy’s health.