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Living Well with Arthritis

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Living Well with Arthritis
If you have been given a diagnosis of Arthritis you may have questions or concerns about what it could be like living with this long-term condition.

The truth is you probably have had the symptoms for a long time and have learnt many things that help you manage on a day to day basis. However, there may be some hints, tips or gadgets which could help to relieve your symptoms and live your life as fully as possible.

Arthritis is a condition which describes damage to the joints within the body. There are many different types of arthritis, which are caused by different processes occurring within the body to cause damage to joints. The two main arthritis types are:

• Osteoarthritis – joints become damaged by tiny parts of bone growing outwards, causing swelling in the joint and the interior of the joint to become narrower
• Rheumatoid arthritis – joints become damaged by inflammation which occurs because the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints

Over 10 million have some form of arthritis so you are not alone. Your symptoms are likely to include feeling stiff especially in the morning, cracking joints, swollen, red joints muscle weakness and tiredness. People with arthritis will experience a different level of symptoms and pain but there are things which can help anyone with arthritis manage their symptoms and live well and fully.


Getting out and about every day!


Research shows that is it really important for both your mental and physical health to get out and about regardless of your disability – going outside makes us feel better and gives us essential Vitamin D for building stronger muscles and bones. Getting outside even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day can significantly improve your health. Getting outside in the garden could help you do something purposeful whilst you’re outside- whether that’s gardening, hanging out the washing or throwing the ball for the dog.

Of course getting outside safely may mean that you have to use mobility aids such as a rollator or walking stick to compensate for a balance issue and prevent falls but research shows that it’s worth it! This may be particularly the case if you’re in open spaces or unfamiliar places. If you feel that you need more assistance to benefit from the fresh air and get outside you could always invest in a wheelchair or scooter – this may enable you to sit outside with family and friends or simply have a cup of tea in the sunshine. Of course you need to make sure you can get out of the house with it and get it into the car ok and you may need a ramp to help with this.

If you are feeling more adventurous and want to go further afield, in the car or on public transport there are many products which can make this easier for you and your family.


Have a soak!

If you have tired muscles and painful joints it can really help to have a soak in a warm bath but getting in and out may be difficult. There are many products which can help from steps to seats through to lifts which raise you up from the bottom of the bath. It is also important to consider the safety of you have a bath – a alarm can provide peace of mind that you can get help if you need it, making sure you don’t lock the door (put an engaged sign on the door if you don’t one the kids running in!), rails on the side of the bath and having slip resistant flooring in the bathroom can all help.

If showering if more your thing you may find standing to shower tiring – there are shower chairs to suit most types and size of cubicle. Reaching toes or you back can be hard in the shower and long handled sponges and other aids may help. It maybe that a walk in level access shower with a wall mounted seat or mobile shower chair is more your thing and they can be so stylish too!

Getting on and off the toilet can also be difficult with painful hips and knees – a simple Raised Toilet seat or a frame around the toilet maybe all that needed to make this essential task easier!


Dressing in style!


Dressing when you have arthritis in your hands, hips and knees can become more difficult due to stiffness and pain. To make it easier here are our top tips:

• Sit down to do as many tasks as possible – for example putting on your pants or tights / socks. There are also gadgets to help with these tasks that prevent you having to bend as far
• Plan in enough time to your routine so you’re not rushing. Getting up 15 minutes early might make all the difference, have a shower in the morning to loosen up stiff muscles before dressing, plan the clothes you’re going to wear the day before, so you don’t have to think too much about it.
• Wear slip on shoes or have self-binding laces to prevent having to tie up shoes during the day.
• Bras can be particularly tricky to put on – try a Bra Angel or use a front fastening bra to make it easier.

Doing the chores!

Keeping active and productive is really important for your physical and mental health and unfortunately this includes the household chores! You may feel like these are getting on top of you but there are simple thing you can use or do to make these tasks achievable:

• Sit down wherever possible to preserve your joints – using a perching stool whilst ironing, preparing food or washing up can make a huge difference to your level of tiredness.
• Make a timetable of your housework and do a little everyday rather than storing it up for one big clean.
• Using long handled brooms, brushes and cleaning aids can prevent you bending and reduce pain.
• A household trolley can be really useful when carry things from room to room.

Cooking and eating!


Eating and drinking are one of life’s pleasures (for most of us!) and should continue to be made as easy and enjoyable as possible. Simple modifications made as early as possible can really make a difference:

• Make it as easy as possible to make a cup of tea or sandwich by grouping things and having things within easy reach. For example, put the cup, teaspoon and tea bags near to the kettle.
Lighting and flooring are really important in the kitchen to prevent accidents and falls.
• There are products that can assist you to continue to cook for yourself and make a hot drink as safely as possible. For example, a Cooking Basket prevents you having to lift a pan of hot water or a Kettle Tipper can enable safe and comfortable pouring of hotwater from the kettle into a cup. The hot water dispenser keeps liquid hot for hours and may be a safer way of getting a drink.
Cutlery and other kitchen implements are often easier to grip with larger handles.
• Using a Perching Stool at the kitchen worktop can help preserve energy and prevent stumbles.
• A long handled reacher can help prevent bending to pick up items from the kitchen floor or reach light weight items on a high shelf.

Standing up with a spring in your step!

When your joints feel painful and stiff getting up from furniture such as a bed or chair can be difficult and fell like a mountain to climb. Simple additions such as furniture raisers could make all the difference or investing in a riser recliner chairs maybe give you the “umph” you need! A grab handle at the side of the bed can help you to sit up and get up more easily.

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