A winter warmer for Arthritis sufferers

Posted on 23 November 2016 by Charity Car

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As the temperatures drop we seem to have to think about so many more little things, whether it's just getting the heating right in the house or dressing for going out in the cold (why is it we can only ever find one glove from a pair!). And preparations should become even more careful when we're planning a long trip out in the car. In fact the CarTakeBack team is putting together some great tips for winter driving and car maintenance so keep an eye out for those coming up on our blog.

But back to the day-to-day and coping with the winter months... We've been speaking to our Charity Car Official Partner Arthritis Care and discussing the myth that cold weather affects this condition. In reality we're told there's no scientific evidence that colder temperatures have an impact on arthritis. However, what can have a huge effect is coping with all the normal tasks the rest of us take for granted and losing precious independence. Simply getting those extra winter layers on or making a warming drink can become fraught and painful.

So, together with Arthritis Care we want to give those of you with arthritis some tips on maintaining that all important independence...

  • Change your routine or how and when you do certain things to put the least strain on your joints and to conserve energy/manage fatigue.
  • Buy equipment with a better design or helpful gadgets for specific tasks, anything from a long handled sponge to higher-seated furniture can make a huge difference. A wide range of products can be found in regular shops, your local Disabled Living Centre, specialised equipment stores, or even on loan through an occupational therapist.
  • Redesign or simply reorganise your home, this tends to be particularly helpful in kitchens to avoid unnecessary lifting and reaching.
  • Plan more thoroughly before you go out - consider external factors can make your life more difficult - such as access to public transport and shops that might be inaccessible.
  • Communicate with the people you spend time with or come into contact with. Strangers and even friends and family may not understand your situation or needs and being clear about what you may find difficult can have a positive effect on your everyday life.
  • Get help where you need it - acknowledging you may need help in some areas doesn't mean losing independence but actually maintaining it. Whether that is a little help from family or hiring a professional cleaner, gardener or personal assistant.
  • Find time to relax and get a good night's sleep - looking after yourself is important and you will manage more by being fully rested.

Arthritis Care’s booklet on Independent Living and Arthritis can be downloaded from here.

It offers thorough and practical advice on handling everyday tasks from shopping and cooking to gardening, cleaning and personal care. One area we haven't covered yet and funnily enough the Charity Car team was particularly interested in was the driving section, so here are the main points...

If you receive the higher rate component of the Disability Living Allowance, you may be eligible to:

  • start driving at 16 (instead of the national age of 17)
  • receive grants for driving lessons
  • buy or lease a car through the Motability scheme, which can significantly reduce the costs of vehicle ownership
  • apply for a blue badge, which allows you to park in allocated spaces.

We hope we've given you some helpful advice. We'd love to hear from you if you have tried any of these tips or have other ideas that work well for you and may help other people. And of course get in touch if you have an old car you'd like to donate to Arthritis Care via Charity Car. The support this charity offers throughout the UK changes lives by enabling the independent living we all value.

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