Looking after and caring for someone with arthritis is a challenge. You need to achieve the right balance between providing support and motivation without being overprotective. Most people with arthritis will wish to retain as much control over their lives as possible, and you need to help them to retain their independence. This might mean that in certain circumstances help may not be wanted. This can be difficult to judge and you must be sensitive to signs to stand back and not insist on helping with a particular task or activity. For example, if the person you care for usually stands up from a chair on their own then it is best not to try and help them – unless they appear to be severely struggling or request assistance.
Understanding: Having a good knowledge and understanding of arthritis, its causes and how it affects people will help you to give the appropriate care and support and also build the person you care for’s confidence in you.
Be Open: Good communication in both directions will limit the chance of misunderstanding between you and the person you care for. It will also mean that you are clear on what the person needs help with and what they can do themselves.
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.
Providing Information: Keep up-to-date on any developments in arthritis treatments, new programmes or services available or changes to social benefits that the person you care for may wish to apply for.
Remember that all the answers are just a phone call away on the Arthritis Ireland helpline 1890 252 846. Arthritis Ireland also runs a programme for carers, Caring Hands and information on being a carer can also be found on this website in Arthritis Ireland’s Caring for a Person with Arthritis information booklet.
Source: Arthritis Ireland