Donna and Ken - living with arthritis on lockdown

08 April 2020
Donna and ken.
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Many of us are still adjusting to a different way of life because of Covid-19. We asked two people with arthritis how they're managing and what advice they’d give to others. Here’s what they said:

“Try and keep active, mentally and physically. For example, write a diary or post on social media to stay in contact with your friends, co-workers and family.”

Donna Roberts, 50, has psoriatic arthritis and lives in Northern Ireland. She shares how she’s managing day to day life during the pandemic.

  • Plan ahead, even for little bits of housework. Keep a routine but keep it flexible too.

  • I go for a big walk every day - I've never crossed the road so many times to avoid oncoming humans!

  • I store dry foods that are quick and easy to cook such as noodles and rice - along with things like Bovril and stock cubes. With some chicken or tuna they make a quick, filling and nutritious meal.

  • Get in some canned fruit with no added sugar which is great for keeping up your Vitamin C levels.

  • I keep a supply of clothing and toiletries upstairs and downstairs as I have a little loo and shower unit downstairs.

  • Remember to keep warm and wear comfortable clothing.

  • Try and keep active, mentally and physically. For example, write a diary or post on social media to stay in contact with your friends, co-workers and family. I'm doing all of this and posting recipes from ingredients in the store cupboard on my Facebook page every day.

  • Keep up with your medication, otherwise you could get stiff or painful joints which is not good for the soul at all.

  • My lovely nurse at our surgery has been in contact and arranged my prescriptions to go to the chemist directly.

  • I have four rescue/re-home cats so they keep me focused - you cannot ignore a cat when they want to be fed!

"Release the tensions with music, play some records, do tai chi or yoga or even both.”

Ken Brown, 61, has osteoarthritis. A semi-retired nurse living in Scotland, here’s how he’s managing his condition and about his experience working in the health sector.

  • For self-managing during these uncertain times I ensure I have enough medications to last me.

  • I maintain contact with everyone via whatever media necessary. We keep in touch using FaceTime and WhatsApp as well as texting and phone calls.

  • Fight not to continually snack when bored.

  • Go for a walk for exercise and sanity or do whatever it takes to maintain a fitness routine. Even when it's grey and damp, ‘dreich’ in Scotland.

  • Finish or even start, those things you never actually got around to doing. Now is the time. Or find time for yourself and relax. Release the tensions with music, play some records, do tai chi or yoga or even both.

  • I write a daily diary and journal of thoughts. Release the pains both physical and mental.

  • Rest is essential, but not always possible due to over-tiredness and irritability.

I do all of the above, not well or even regularly. But personal time is important to chill or scream in my own head, in my own space. Eyes wide shut or something like that. Otherwise my life stresses would overtake me. That will not happen.

It's busy on the wards. As well as being quite daunting at times, with all the recent events.

The publics’ reaction and support has been astounding. With donations of foodstuffs to keep us motivated, fed and hydrated. Hand creams to compensate for the excessive hand washing.

We are stronger than our problems. We stand together as one. We are Versus Arthritis.

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