For someone living with arthritis, even simple, everyday activities and tasks can be difficult, frustrating, and painful. To make matters more complicated, no two cases of arthritis look the same.
While you can’t change someone’s arthritis, you can grant holiday wishes that help ease pain and may even restore a little quality of life.
Arthritis and Its Symptoms
Before buying a gift, it helps to understand the challenges of arthritis.
The most common forms of the disease are osteoarthritis (a wearing away of the cartilage or cushions in the joints) and rheumatoid arthritis (an immune system attack on the lining of the joints).
Symptoms for both conditions include stiff, swollen joints, constant aches and shooting pains. All joints in the body are potential problem areas, especially the neck, back, shoulders, elbows, thumbs, fingers, hips, knees and toes.
Think about these physical challenges as you consider gift options. You’ll want to stay away from presents that require agility and dexterity. Instead aim for items that provide pain relief or make tasks more doable.
Relief Wrapped in a Bow
Gifts that provide soothing relief are often heat-related, such as electric heating pads, throws or blankets. Applying heat stimulates blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow.
For a gift that reduces inflammation, go for cold therapy items, such as flexible gel packs that can be placed in the freezer and then wrapped around a joint. Applying cold to swollen joints causes blood vessels to constrict, which slows blood flow and helps reduce inflammation.
Compression therapy also reduces inflammation and promotes better circulation. A pair of compression gloves could be a good choice for someone with arthritis in the fingers and thumbs.
Gifts That Make Tasks Easier
Giving someone an adaptive tool is like giving the gift of independence. These devices are easy to grip with stiffened hands and can help people with arthritis accomplish household tasks such as dressing or cooking.
There are many ways to show you care that don’t involve spending money. Don’t be afraid to get creative, and remember that creating memories can be an even better gift than a material object.
Plan day trips, such as a day in the city or a drive through the country.
Living with a chronic condition can take up a lot of time and energy. Sometimes the best gift is just spending time together. Take some time to listen and learn more about the condition.
People who have RA want to be treated as more than their condition. You can’t go wrong by listening to them and giving from the heart.