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Caring for someone with arthritis

Arthritis is a very common condition. It can be disabling because of the pain it causes or the effects it has on the joints. It often affects older people (especially osteoarthritis), but it can affect people of all ages (especially rheumatoid arthritis), including children. If the person you care for has arthritis, one of the best things you can do is to learn as much as you can about the condition. Read more about arthritis and about living with arthritis. You can read other people's stories and share your own too at the arthritis blog.

Most people with arthritis will feel some discomfort, pain, stiffness and fatigue. These symptoms can be frustrating and upsetting, particularly if they lead to a loss of strength and grip, making it harder to move around and carry out daily tasks. This doesn't mean that the person you care for will need to stop having an active lifestyle. However, they may need to make some changes to their way of life. You can watch and read how other people have coped in Health A-Z arthritis real stories. The Arthritis Care website also has practical advice on living with the condition.

Everyday tasks

Arthritis can make physical tasks much more difficult. The person you care for may often be physically or mentally tired, even if they have slept well. Fatigue can make the person you care for irritable and bad tempered, which can lead to depression. If you think the person you care for is getting depressed, encourage them to speak to their GP. Their GP may be able to recommend a local support group for people with their condition.

An occupational therapist can assess the person with arthritis and suggest practical ways to help them continue with their normal routine. They may also suggest specialist equipment and aids around the home. These assessments can usually be arranged through the person’s GP or local authority social services.

Health and nutrition

It's very important for people with arthritis to maintain a healthy weight through healthy eating and exercise. If they're overweight, it could aggravate their condition. Excess weight puts more stress on the joints, making the condition more painful.

For more information on healthy eating, see Live Well: good food. For simple tips on how to get more exercise without compromising your lifestyle, see Live Well: exercise and fitness.

See the Arthritis Care website for guides on healthy eating, exercise and how to manage fatigue.

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

LissieBee said on 14 August 2013

I am a companion career for LissieBee (www.keepingyouindependent.com) and I offer services to older people who are suffering with conditions such as arthritis, don't fret if your struggling look for help it's out there :)

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Page last reviewed: 13/06/2012

Next review due: 13/06/2014

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