Being the caregiver of someone with rheumatoid arthritis can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Helping someone cope with RA is not an easy task and can sometimes lead to out-of-control emotions in the caregiver as well.
You play a vital role in providing support for the person you care for with rheumatoid arthritis, but in order to do that, you have to take good care of yourself. There is life after rheumatoid arthritis — both for you, the caregiver, and for your loved one. Follow these tips to help manage daily life.
Stay informed. Learn as much as you can about rheumatoid arthritis. It is helpful to know the complications of the disease (rheumatoid arthritis is frequently accompanied by other autoimmune problems) and the side effects of certain medications so that you know how to deal with the “what’s next” in your life and the life of your rheumatoid arthritis sufferer.
Depend on family and friends. Having support from others in your family is essential. Talk with your family members often and enlist their support and help whenever you can.
Seek support. Look into joining local support groups or connecting with others who have rheumatoid arthritis or who are caregivers of those with RA. When you contact others in the same position, it is very healing, as you can literally feel each other’s pain , who says no one but a caregiver can comprehend what it is like to care for someone with rheumatoid arthritis.
Express your thoughts. Writing down your feelings or journaling is often a good outlet for letting go of your emotions.
Move forward. Celebrate what you do have!
Get some exercise. Staying physically active can make you feel good and help to ward off depression. Find an activity, like swimming or Tai Chi, that both you and your loved one enjoy and that can be helpful in relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
Educate others. If you feel anger or resentment, turn it into a positive by putting things into perspective. Let anyone and everyone know how this disease has affected you and your family. It is a national problem: 46 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis.
Communicate with your doctor. During your personal doctor visits, talk about how you are feeling physically and mentally. Discuss options like counseling.
Don’t forget to laugh. Take time to have fun and laugh together. Watch a funny movie or listen to your loved one’s favorite music.
Take time for you. It’s important to stay healthy and take time for yourself so that you can be at your best as a caregiver.
This articles was originally written by, Linda Foster