Living with arthritis can make a person feel vulnerable and sometimes becoming reliant on others can be very difficult, especially having to ask for help.
Some find their condition hard to accept and it can at times dominate their life. They can feel guilty that they can’t do what is expected of them or what they used to do.
There are many types of arthritis but the things they have in common are pain, restricted mobility and fatigue. These can impose physical limitations in daily living activities that others take for granted such as bending, reaching, kneeling and walking, which can be very distressing.
Coping strategies and a positive approach are essential for a person living with arthritis.
How you can help
- Try and get them to talk about how they feel and show you understand and are there for them. If they are depressed persuade them to visit their GP and go with them. Don’t let them just soldier on.
- Help them to do some form of exercise however small as it will help them stay mobile. Offer your support, emotional or physical as they may have lost confidence in themselves.
- Constant pain is debilitating so help them learn ways to relax and stay positive. Remind them of what they “Can do” to stay positive.
- Offer help, be it personal care or everyday activities, rather than wait to be asked.
- Find out organisations that can help them with daily life tasks e.g. Disability Living Associations, mobility aids, local support groups and pain clinics.
- Take them or arrange transport for their appointments.
- Ensure that they are taking prescribed medication correctly.
- If possible make sure they are eating a healthy diet, with regular meals and portion sizes.
- Learn as much as you can about their type of arthritis so that you have an understanding of what is happening to them and the difficulties they may have.
Living with constant pain and fatigue can be depressing and sometimes those closest to a person living with arthritis don’t realise the toll it takes on them.
Caring for someone with arthritis can be very rewarding but sometimes frustrating. However your help, understanding and support could enable them to do as much for themselves as possible. This will help them maintain an active and enjoyable lifestyle and manage their arthritis rather than let it control them.