Arthritis is the number 1 cause of disability for all ages.
Imagine experiencing pain every time you stand, sit, turn your head, or use your hands. For the 50 million people living with arthritis in the United States (that’s 1 in every 5 adults), this becomes reality. Everyday activities, such as getting dressed and going up and down stairs, become challenging and painful.
Some common types of arthritis are:
- Osteoarthritis – The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis is caused by a reduction of cartilage and bone, leading to painful movement affecting the knees, hands, hips and spine.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – An inflammatory (autoimmune) disease affecting the lining of the joints, and leading to pain, deformity of the hands, swelling and redness of the areas around the affected joints. Women are twice as likely as men to have rheumatoid arthritis (aka RA).
- Gout – Known for joints that are red and swollen, people with gout often experience severe pain. The condition can be persistent, or flare up periodically.
- Fibromyalgia – Though not a true form of arthritis, this arthritis-related syndrome is characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, numbness/tingling in the feet and hands, severe headaches and even memory problems. Fibromyalgia is 7x more likely to affect women than men.
People living with arthritis often find it challenging to perform the day-to-day activities associated with independent living.
Certain aspects of independent living with arthritis may become difficult due to the persistent pain, stiffness, and issues with strength and flexibility. In some cases, Arthritis can also lead to depression.
Awareness is often an important first step in understanding the limitations a person may be experiencing due to an illness or disease. If caring for someone with arthritis, be sure to ask how you can help instead of just jumping in and taking over. It is important to maintain their independence and dignity.
3 Tips for Living with Arthritis:
- Adaptive aids – Consider purchasing gadgets and products with larger handles that may be easier for a person to grasp and use. Also, smaller size containers can be easier to manage, such as a pint of milk instead of a one-gallon jug.
- Modify activities – Instead of lifting or carrying items that are heavy or difficult to manage, consider using a cart with wheels to bring groceries in the house and take laundry from one room to another.
- Caregivers – Enlist the services of a professional caregiver from a home care agency, such as Caring Hearts, to assist with daily activities, such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, grocery shopping, bathing and dressing.