Lending a Hand: Helping Loved Ones with Arthritis
Living with arthritis is a challenge. Those suffering from arthritis often deal with pain on a daily basis, and while arthritis isn’t a life sentence, it does affect the way people go about their day-to-day lives. Their joints ache and swell, and it can be difficult to move around or complete everyday tasks that most of us take for granted. For someone with arthritis, managing work, family and life in general can be draining. But looking after and caring for someone with arthritis isn’t easy, either.
It’s difficult to adjust to living with arthritis, especially when a person faces the loss of their independence, or even just a portion of their physical independence. It’s hard to ask for help, and many people never will – they want to maintain as much freedom as possible. Whether you are someone’s primary caretaker or if you simply care about a person who is in chronic pain and want to help, the most important thing you can do is find the right balance between providing support while also nurturing your loved one’s independence.
The first step in lending a helping hand to loved ones with arthritis is to ask. Ask how they are feeling. Ask how you can help. Open up an avenue of two-way communication and let your loved one know that you are there to support them in whatever way they need.
Offer to help your loved one with exercises and therapies prescribed as treatment by their doctor. If you are a primary caretaker, help with managing daily medications and doctor’s appointments. Actually lend your hand – open jars, open doors, lift heavy objects, carry the laundry, change the sheets and help with physically demanding tasks that might cause pain in someone who has arthritis.
An arthritis diagnosis can be overwhelming and painful. One of the best ways you can help your loved one cope is to help them in finding advice, treatments and any benefits that they may be entitled to. There is a sea of information out there, and processing everything can be a daunting task for anyone, especially someone in chronic pain. Helping to mine through the information will take a weight off your loved one’s shoulders, and they will appreciate your efforts to learn more about what they are going through.
There is no right or wrong way to help a loved one with arthritis. Just letting them know that you are there to help and support them no matter what will mean the world.