How to Support Someone With Arthritis

Older man sitting on the couch managing arthritis pain

One in four adults in the United States has been diagnosed with a painful joint condition known as arthritis. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the mechanical wear and tear on the body’s joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints.

Helping your loved one with their arthritis management can be one of the most loving things you can do. It shows them they aren’t alone and are completely understood in their pain.

Here are a few ways to be there for your loved one during this challenge.

Be There For Them Emotionally

Having arthritis can be extremely painful and isolating. It’s one of the more invisible conditions a person can have, but it can still be debilitating. Knowing they have someone in their corner who loves and supports them can go a long way.

Sometimes, the most we can do to ease our loved one’s challenges is simply to be there. Taking the time to sit and talk with them can turn a bad day that feels very isolating into a good one, as they feel supported by someone who cares about them.

Another way to be there for them emotionally is to inquire about attending their appointments with them. This not only shows them that you support them but that you are also interested in knowing more about their condition.

Learn What You Can About Arthritis

To that end, learning more about their condition will grow your understanding and, by extension, your empathetic caregiving abilities. Sometimes, the seemingly small things are what make the most significant difference.

Doing your homework and research means your loved one doesn’t have to carry the emotional burden of explaining their arthritis pain and management to you. It shows them you care about them so much that you are taking the time to understand their symptoms and therapy options.

If you can go to appointments with your loved one, take the time to listen to what the doctor says. Also, ask questions for further understanding. Your loved one might not say it, but they will be grateful knowing they aren’t alone in learning the ins and outs of arthritis.

Communicate and Encourage

Talking with our loved ones about their arthritis pain can help them feel seen. It can also ensure that they know how to communicate to others what they are feeling, ultimately assisting their overall arthritis management.

Communicating with loved ones about their experiences can be about their pain and what we can do to help them cope with arthritis. Knowing what lines make your loved one uncomfortable if you cross them is a strong way to show you love and respect them.

During these moments of communication, you can also encourage your loved one to participate in arthritis management. Encouragement is the simplest thing that can have a lasting impact on their condition.

Getting your loved one to move their limbs and joints actively ensures that the flare ups will be more manageable when they do happen. Often, especially with seniors, encouragement from loved ones goes much further than the same statements from medical professionals or therapists.

Assist with Small Tasks

If your loved one is willing to accept your help, try to assist with little things. These can be tasks around the house or while out and about doing out-of-home activities.

Either way, the help will allow your loved one to rest their aching joints and give themselves the space to slow down. To ensure your loved one doesn’t ever feel like you are stepping on their toes or making them feel less than, communicate what they might want before you do it.

It is natural to want to step in and help ease arthritis pain immediately. However, unprompted help can often cause your loved one to feel negatively about themselves and their abilities.

Continue to Include Them

Your loved one is still part of your intimate group of friends and family. Just because they are facing this new medical condition doesn’t change that fact.

Continue to invite them to events and social get-togethers. It is a surefire way to ensure your loved one never feels isolated or left out. We all want to feel loved and respected, no matter what.

If your loved one struggles with movement, ensure the activities you invite them to are adaptable without making them feel singled out or burdensome. If they can’t do as many fine motor activities anymore, ensure that your time together doesn’t overwhelm them with such actions.

Ensuring your loved one is still loved and part of the family is most important.

Accessible is Here To Help

If your loved one has been diagnosed with a form of arthritis and you are unsure how to help them with the pain and management, contact us. Accessible caregivers can help you find resources, therapy, and other management options for you and your loved one.