Social and Financial Support
Arthritis symptoms are chronic, and medication costs can be high. Along with the compromises and daily limitations your OA imposes, the strain can be almost unbearable without a helping hand. Luckily, there are several sources of support – both emotional and financial – to make life with arthritis easier:
Patient Assistance Programs
A number of drug companies have programs in place to help patients afford their arthritis medication. In many cases, you can apply directly to the company, but some medications require your doctor to apply on your behalf.
Start by looking up your specific arthritis medications online (arthritis.org has a comprehensive list of drugs), and follow the links to explore the co-pay programs. Eligibility requirements can vary drastically from one drug to the next, but even if you don’t qualify for the full benefits, you may be able to shave off some of your monthly costs
Local Support Groups
A good social support network can relieve the effects of arthritis pain and reduce the risk of depression that can come with a chronic disease. Friends and family should be your first choice: studies reveal that patients who have compassionate contact with the people they know and trust do better overall.
But don’t despair if your family network is lacking! Find a local support group to attend, or browse through the many online patient forums for OA patients like you – like the one here at NewLifeOutlook!
If you’re having a hard time getting out of the house, you could arrange a nurse or occupational therapist to visit you every week – they’ll have helpful tips and warm words to keep you on track.
Look into your local hospital, physical therapy clinics or even community centers for exercise classes designed for OA patients. This is a great opportunity for you to socialize and get fit – both healthy activities on their own, but together they can bring incredible stress relief.
Talk to your doctor before joining up with any class, just to make sure it’s a level of activity that your body can handle, and consider trying something you haven’t done before. Most importantly, be sure you’re comfortable in your surroundings; choosing a class geared specifically to chronic pain patients will promise an understanding and appropriately paced environment.
It’s important to recognize the supportive resources around you, but you should also learn to lean on yourself. Start keeping a journal if you haven’t already, including all of your frustrations, exercises, pain levels, and anything that made you feel better in mind and body. Writing about your pain and struggle can directly affect your healing.