Managing Arthritis in the Home

Arthritis is a term meaning inflammation of the joints; however, over 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that relate to the joints and connecting tissues are also classified as forms of arthritis. Although managing severe arthritis in the home can be difficult, there are modifications, such as a disabled stair lift, and techniques to help decrease pain that can enable individuals to successfully function at home.

Types and Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is the most commonly occurring form of arthritis. In fact, in the United Kingdom, around 8.5 million people suffer from osteoarthritis, according to a 2011 report from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Other frequently observed forms of this debilitating condition include gout, lupus, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Although symptoms of this disease vary depending on the form of arthritis, sufferers usually experience aching, painful, stiff and swollen joints. Other types of this condition, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can also affect the body’s immune system and organs.

Dealing with Pain

The Arthritis Foundation recommends maintaining a cheerful attitude by performing a daily exercise routine, laughing, thinking upbeat thoughts and spending time with family and friends. Patients should also try not to think about pain by shifting their thoughts elsewhere through, for example, reading a book or watching television.

Actively participating in optimistic self-talk can help change an individual’s perspective on pain. Negative thoughts can make pain seem worse; whereas positive thinking can help ease pain. A patient can begin to change his thoughts by becoming aware of the thoughts that bring him down and modifying them to reflect the brighter side of things.

Moreover, it is important for patients to follow their doctor’s orders in regards to performing exercises and taking medication.

Home Activities

At times, arthritis can make simple daily activities seem almost impossible to accomplish. Arthritis Today suggests ways to make living at home easier:

• When carrying a heavy load, it should always be small and held close to the body.

• People with arthritic hands can also wear gloves or socks and dust with their covered hand.

• Making the bed is easier when using a lightweight comforter that can simply be thrown over the sheets. Moreover, the use of a wooden pizza paddle can help tuck in the sheets and other coverings.

• Dressing is easier when using the stronger limb to perform the work. In addition, choose clothing with zippers over buttons.

Equipment and Products

Often a person suffering from arthritis lives in a two-storey home and needs special equipment to move up and down the stairs, such as a disabled stair lift. Products that also facilitate independence, include large-handled scissors, key turners, book holders, lift chairs as well as jar openers and special can openers, called can claws.

Positive thinking to help ease pain and the use of special tools to complete tasks and manoeuvre around the house can make managing arthritis at home much easier. The use of a disabled stair lift can even make it possible to remain in a two-storey home.