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Arthritis, New car technology and seniors

Created date

February 16th, 2018
close up photo of a woman's hand holding rose hip pods

Q: Can rose hips help relieve symptoms of arthritis?

A: Rose hips are seed pods of roses. They are very high in the antioxidant vitamin C. Studies conducted in the laboratory and on animals have shown that rose hips powder seems to decrease arthritis swelling by inhibiting the production of certain inflammation-related proteins and enzymes. There have been some limited studies on humans with mixed results. A 2008 analysis of three studies showed that rose hips powder reduced knee, hip, and wrist pain by about 30% in people with osteoarthritis. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, rose hips improved symptoms better than a placebo. 

It is important to note that these studies use a standardized form of rose hips that is carefully tested for the amount of active ingredients. Over-the-counter rose hips supplements are not FDA-regulated the same way. They are considered dietary supplements, and thus manufacturers have a lot of leeway regarding what they can include in the formulations. In addition, dietary supplements can interact with prescription and other over-the-counter medicines, so ask your doctor before trying dietary supplements for arthritis symptoms. 

Q: Can technological features in today’s new cars help some seniors start driving again? 

A: Being able to drive wherever you want to go helps you maintain your independence. But age-related changes, including vision deficits, decreased hearing, and arthritis-related symptoms like pain, stiffness, and loss of flexibility, can certainly interfere. Depending on the make and model, today’s vehicles offer safety features such as backup cameras, lane departure notifications, and forward collision warnings. Convenience features, including keyless entry, push-button ignition, and large letters and numbers on the instrument panel, can make things easier. 

Although studies show that seniors are very safe on the road compared to other age groups, you can’t rely solely on technology to keep you safe. Use your eyes and ears as extra safeguards, as well as low-tech aids, such as mirrors, to make up for blind spots. If you are unsure about your ability to drive safely, your doctor may be able to help you decide by conducting a thorough medical evaluation and recommending resources. Some local motor vehicle agencies offer safety testing, and AAA has several resources on its website. In some areas, occupational therapists trained as driver rehabilitation specialists are available to help you get back on the road. 

Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. Dr. Carpenter received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and her medical degree from the University of California’s Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. Board-certified in internal medicine, Carpenter joined Charlestown in July 1996.