When a Loved one has Arthritis

 

Looking after someone or becoming the carer for someone who has arthritis can be difficult and it can be challenging.

There is a fine balance to strike which involves providing a good level of care but also allowing that person their independence and respecting their wishes about their care.

It’s important to gauge when care is needed and when you can stand back and there will be bumps along the way but you can be sure every day you provide care, will be highly valued.

Understanding Arthritis is important because it not only affects the person with the ailment but impacts every person in their close circle of family and friends. Arthritis is a chronic condition and its impact is a life-long journey.

People with arthritis often are discouraged and say, “My family doesn’t understand”, or “My friend doesn’t get what it’s like for me”. Family and friends are not deliberately trying to misunderstand, be difficult, or seem uncompassionate. They really don’t understand, as they are not in your shoes! Hence awareness campaigns are important.

Suggest certain actions family and friends can take to enhance their understanding.

Understand what arthritis means – what causes it, how it develops, and how it affects people. In the same way that understanding their condition helps people with arthritis to cope with it, the more you understand about arthritis the more you will be able to provide successful care and support.

Communicate effectively. Good communication in both directions is essential. The person with arthritis needs to feel well supported and may also need reassurance that you do not resent the responsibility falling on you. It needs to be transparent.

Offer practical help with the treatment. This may mean helping the person to take their medications or assisting with recommended exercises, activities or therapies that they have found helpful in reducing the symptoms of their arthritis. Continuity is the key.

Support the person as a family member or close friend of the person who has arthritis, ask if you can accompany them to their doctor appointment. This is a way of demonstrating your support and also gives you the opportunity to raise questions and to hear the response directly from the doctor. It is yet another good way to learn and support at the same time.

 

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