How does arthritis change lives?
Almost all people who have arthritis find that it affects their lives in some way. It can affect their everyday activities, their jobs, their financial resources or their relationships with family and friends.
Arthritis is not easy to live with, but there is much you can do to change, overcome, or cope with the problems it presents. Your doctor and other members of your health care team can recommend medications, special exercises, joint protection techniques and devices, and other self-care activities. Keeping a positive attitude is also important. A positive attitude will let you see solutions to your problems in a better light.
How can a person with arthritis cope with it?
Coping skills can help you manage the changes arthritis can bring to your life. Pain, stress, and changes in roles and your physical appearance can cause depression and other strong feelings.
Use mental exercises and things you enjoy doing to relieve stress. Talk about the changes arthritis brings and share your feelings with family and friends.
Two pages in this article (self-help skills and taking charge of arthritis) offer specific suggestions for coping.
When should a person with arthritis ask for help?
Ask for help when you need it.
Depending on yourself is important. But there may be times when you'll need assistance. Remember, it's okay to ask for help. Your family or doctor, therapist or nurse, friends or religious group, and many other community agencies are close at hand-ready to help you when you need them.
While it maybe hard to admit that some things are more difficult to do than before, it is important to get help when you need it. This is especially true for activities that place a lot of stress on your joints. Your family and friends will understand you better if you share your feelings with them and let them know how they can help you.
You may even find that your family and friends have some of the same emotional reactions to your arthritis as you do. They may feel shut out or frustrated when they aren't able to help. Tell them that the amount of pain and stiffness you feel varies throughout the day and from day to day. Using a scale from one to 10 to describe feelings helps family members and friends understand changes in severity. Try to involve your family in decisions about sharing chores and making new arrangements of shelves and furniture. Ask your friends for their understanding if you have to change or postpone plans you've made.http://www.orthop.washington.edu/uw/livingwith/tabID__3370/ItemID__94/Articles/Default.aspx