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Visiting nurses can give medical care and teach the family how to provide care for the homebound person. Attendants provide personal care homemaking services and companionship. People who are severely disabled by arthritis and live alone may find it helpful to have a part-time or full-time attendant. An attendant may be hired to stay for several hours each day or to live with the person who has arthritis. To obtain the services of an attendant contact home health care agencies independent living centers or private Health Care contracting companies. Medicaid and private insurance companies may or may not pay a portion of attendant care fees.
When contacting an agency either on your own behalf--or as a concerned relative or friend--the guidelines below may be of help:. Suitable recreational activities can be a wonderful outlet and a boost to self-image for all of us. Most communities now have services of this kind. YMCA and YWCA's senior centers and church programs offer organized activities and informal socializing for people of all ages and especially for senior citizens.
Accessible transportation for senior citizens and people with disabilities is now available in most communities--especially those that receive federal funds for public transportation. If getting to recreational activities is difficult the center itself often provides transportation.
Or you might just as easily find a neighbor or other group member who would be happy to take you to events. Perhaps you could provide a service in return.
Many communities also provide door-to-door transportation services such as mini-vans or mini-buses that accommodate wheelchairs walkers and other devices. For more information contact your public transportation department or local Easter Seals Foundation. Smaller communities and rural areas that may not furnish public transportation often provide services through their senior centers hospitals or their local government. People who live in smaller communities should contact their mayor's office or county social services agency for information on local transportation. There are a variety of living arrangements for people who may or may not be able to live alone.
Some types of housing are only for people with disabilities. Other types are only for the elderly while some serve both elderly and disabled persons.
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For information regarding the type and location of housing options in your area call or write your local housing authority local commission or office on aging independent living center or the American Association of Retired Persons AARP. A government program called "Section Eight Housing" provides rent subsidies to people whose income falls below a certain level. A family's income and household expenses determine whether a person qualifies for this federal assistance program. Subsidy housing is often used by senior citizens or people with disabilities.
For further information contact the local or state housing authority or the regional office of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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Both are listed in the phone book under "United States Government. Funds can be used for roofing ramping and insulation. Some volunteer service organizations furnish free labor for home improvements. For more information contact the local housing authority in your area. The majority of elderly people with arthritis can and do live independently. But sometimes it becomes necessary to consider placing a family member in a nursing home or a home for the elderly or chronically ill a residential health care facility.
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It is important that you and your family discuss nursing home options before any decisions are made-making sure to include the family member who will be entering the nursing home. If uncertain about nursing home decisions consulting your doctor social worker support counselor or clergyman may help ease your family through the many concerns and decisions involved.
There are several types of nursing homes each offering different levels of care services and activity programs. To find out about a particular nursing home visit the facility and also check with one or more of the following:. Family members should continue to be involved with relatives in a nursing home through frequent visits. Ongoing communication with the nursing home staff will help insure a quality environment for the resident. If a problem arises that cannot be resolved some communities have a nursing home ombudsman program. An ombudsman is a community volunteer who works with nursing home residents their families and the nursing home administrator to come up with solutions to their problems.
Where available ombudsmen can be reached through the State Agency on Aging. Children who have arthritis often have many of the same concerns about their disease as adults. They also may have problems with school emotional adjustments treatment and family issues. AJAO can help you find out about programs and services for children with arthritis. Federal and state laws protect the rights of all children to receive a public education. If arthritis is interfering with your job perhaps there are a few simple changes you could make to ease the pain and stress on your joints while working.
More specific suggestions on how to manage the symptoms of arthritis at work are included in the articles on work and arthritis and using joints wisely. If the severity of your symptoms makes it impossible for you to continue working in your present career state vocational rehabilitation agencies can help you discover new job possibilities and assist you with any needed retraining or job placement.
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State employment offices also provides job referrals. Neither agency charges for its services and both can be found under the "state" listings in your phone book. Today there are educational programs for people of all ages and for all the reasons people seek education. Most college campuses and other public buildings have made changes that allow and encourage people with physical limitations to participate more fully in their educational programs. Many institutions and organizations offer special scholarships grants or loans to people with disabilities and to people 65 or older.
Personalities abilities past experience reactions and concerns vary a great deal from person to person. Some people appear to handle all of their problems well while others have difficulty coping with a variety of challenges.
Arthritis can be one of those challenges both physically and emotionally. When people find out that they have arthritis they often feel a sense of shock disbelief or helplessness. After they learn more about arthritis and its treatment they may feel overwhelmed or angry. At some point most people with arthritis realize that the disease is indeed a fact of their lives.
With this awareness they may become depressed.
In a sense one could compare this sequence of emotions to the grieving process. People with chronic diseases actually do "grieve" over the person they were prior to the time they were affected. In fact the grieving process often is necessary in order for people to accept change and get on with their lives. People with arthritis can take comfort knowing that the range of emotions they experience is perfectly normal.
People with arthritis experience some changes and challenges that are different from those of people with other diseases. Adjusting to the changes experienced with arthritis takes time. However there are things you can do to better cope with the situation. With work and understanding you can learn to deal with the effects of arthritis. Handling daily responsibilities is not easy when you are suffering from the pain of a headache or toothache. When there is chronic pain because of arthritis dealing with life's tasks can be even more difficult. Everyone feels pain differently.