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Does Rainy Spring Weather Really Affect Uncle Charlie’s Arthritis?

Family Caregivers in Queens NY

Elderly man grasping his backHow often have you heard an aging parent, aunt or uncle say it must be going to rain because their arthritis or their back is acting up? Turns out it’s not just an old wives’ tale after all. There really is some truth to it. Though it’s not so much the dampness and rain that can cause the flare-ups in pain; it’s actually the change in barometric pressure that causes increased pain, according to a study some years back conducted by the Harvard Medical School.

You have no doubt also heard of people moving to warmer climates to help alleviate their pain. While there may be a decrease in pain levels, experts in the medical field say there are changes in barometric pressure even in warm, dryer climates, too. So while those who move may be getting out of the cold, they’ll never escape all their arthritic woes.

So whether your loved one lives in the upper Midwest or the east coast and experiences snow and cold for several months out of the year, or they live in Arizona, Texas or Florida, how can you help them avoid those aches and pains, or at least reduce them? Since the majority of one’s body heat is lost through the body’s extremities they need to pay extra attention to their head, hands and feet.

  • As a family caregiver, remind them to wear loose fitting clothing, but dress in layers when going outside in damp or rainy weather.
  • They should wear something on their head if it’s windy, chilly or rainy.
  • If it’s especially chilly, they may want to wear a scarf to help protect their neck, which is another place the elderly can feel stiff and sore.
  • They should wear socks and rain boots, galoshes, or waterproof shoes to help avoid their feet getting chilled, wet or damp in rainy weather.
  • Remind them to carry an umbrella to give their head added protection from the rain.

If they do get a bad bout of arthritic flare-up, there are things they can do to help ease their pain. Perhaps they want to go swimming at a local YMCA, health club or senior center. The benefits of water therapy are incalculable. They could also stretch or do light exercises while listening to music or watching TV. Some seniors get a lot of benefit from aerobics, yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates. They could also walk on a treadmill at home, or at an indoor mall or indoor track. Even riding a stationary bike could help loosen some joints.

These are just a few ideas on things you can suggest to your loved one. It really can be anything that helps to get them moving and loosening things up.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Manhattan, NY, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (212) 845-9854