Regain autonomy and control over your life with arthritis. Hone in on your problem solving skills.
Pain, stiffness, and fatigue that accompany arthritis can interfere with daily activities. Simple and complex activities are affected, creating a need for developing positive coping strategies. Problem solving strategies may involve:
When Living With Limitations, Adaptation Is Key
Many daily activities are so simplistic that they are taken for granted until illness and disability make them difficult to accomplish. Inability to perform the most basic everyday tasks greatly affects individual identity, self-esteem, and confidence.
When activities are viewed within "typical" social roles the problem becomes even more complicated. If a person with arthritis has trouble tying shoelaces, they can make a change to a different type of footwear to solve the problem. If, however, the person with arthritis is a parent and it is the shoelaces of their child the parent is struggling with, then their role as parent has been challenged by the arthritis.
The importance of homemaking activities, such as shopping and cooking, defines a woman's or perhaps man's social role within the family unit. If the man or woman finds difficulty with peeling vegetables, stirring, lifting pots and pans, and putting food on the table, feelings of guilt and inadequacy can emerge. The same predicament occurs for men or women who are forced to give up a career or livelihood due to disability. Their role as contributing breadwinner is challenged by the arthritis and it can be unsettling and disturbing.
People devise different problem solving strategies to compensate for their inability to perform certain tasks and social roles. Along with finding new ways of doing things, the division of responsibility and expectations in the household may need to be altered.
Interdependence between people occurs normally throughout daily life, at home and at work. The onset of arthritis disrupts normal patterns of interdependence. The level of disruption varies with the severity of the disease. The pattern swings more towards a state of dependence with increased severity.
Dependency is viewed by people with arthritis as giving up responsibilities to others. Becoming more dependent on others is usually gradual since arthritis can be subtle and gradual as it progresses. Most people with arthritis struggle to do everything for themselves until eventually they accept the changes and accept that they need help. Living with chronic illness involves continual adjustment to changing aspects of the disease.
Loss Of Autonomy
Though no solitary person is an island unto himself or herself, it is still difficult psychologically to realize you must depend on someone else to do what you once could do for yourself, or that which you feel you should be able to do yourself. The feeling that you should not have to impose on others is a very real dilemma which people with arthritis must overcome.
Dependence has a negative connotation when regarded as being a burden to others, interfering with other peoples time, or waiting around for someone to help. The person who has become more dependent suffers a loss of autonomy and loss of control over their life.