Thousands with arthritis spend years struggling at home before getting ‘vital’ support, Versus Arthritis research shows.
Released today (8th May), the survey reports that around 43% of those living with the condition struggled with basic tasks for more than two years before discovering about their eligibility for local authority support.
94% of people with arthritis who regularly use aids and adaptions in the home have revealed that adaptions have a positive impact on their quality of life: maintaining independence and delaying further care needs.
The lack of awareness around the support provided by local authorities often means that those suffering aren’t receiving the aided care they require, with nearly half (47%) buying their own aids because they were unaware that they could have been provided for free.
Individual costs for aids and adaptations can vary, with 29% of individuals who have self-financed report they have spent more than £1,000.
In some cases, this is said to have risen to as much as £5,000.
One participant, who has been living with rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years said that after her diagnosis, she found out that she needed a lot of help around the home and getting around in general.
“It can be a terrifying time trying to do the things you’re struggling with,” Jennylyn Williams said.
“It can leave you feeling so alone, and there’s no one telling you help is available. The stress can make the symptoms of my arthritis worse.
“Aids and adaptations have taken away the stress of everyday life and has meant my fatigue doesn’t get in the way. I’ve gone from being totally restricted to being able to lead a ‘normal’ life.”
Referencing figures, Tracy Loftis, head of policy and public affairs at Versus Arthritis, said that around 17.8m people in the UK live with arthritis or a related condition.
“Aids and adaptations can make a positive difference to someone’s life, enabling people to live independently. We are concerned thousands of people in England who have arthritis are not getting the support they need from local authorities,” said Loftis.
“People with arthritis deserve better than this and should be provided with aids and adaptations free of charge when eligible.
“Versus Arthritis is calling on the government to play a key role in developing best practice for local authorities, as well as asking local authorities to provide information to the public about this vital service.”
Dr Anna Dixon, CEO, Centre for Ageing Better, added: “We urgently need to upgrade and adapt Britain’s homes.
“Currently, the clear majority are not suitable for people with reduced mobility or who have a disability.
“This can be difficult for people managing health conditions like arthritis. Fitting aids and adaptations into homes is a cost-effective way to meet the needs of an ageing population.”