Thousands with arthritis spend years struggling at home before getting vital support

Lady turning on bath tap with help of aids and adaptations.

Aids and adaptations in the home such as grab rails, raised toilet seats and stair-lifts, can transform the quality of life of people with arthritis and can mean the difference someone being able to live independently or not.

This equipment can help people with pain and limited mobility to do basic everyday activities and live independently for longer. When we’ve surveyed people with arthritis, 94% of people who use aids and adaptations say they’ve had a positive impact on their lives, helping them maintain independence and delaying or preventing further care needs.

Too many people unaware of support available from their Local Authority

We know that local authorities have a duty under the Care Act 2014 to provide aids and minor adaptations free of charge to those who cannot do two or more activities of daily living, such as getting dressed or using the toilet without help. But we’ve also found that thousands of people with arthritis could be struggling with basic tasks at home for more than two years before finding out about this support from their local authority.

We’re concerned that not enough people are aware of what their local authority could provide them. When we surveyed people with arthritis, we found:

  • 47% of people with arthritis who had bought their own aids and adaptations were unaware their Local Authority could provide them for free.

  • 43% of people said they needed help at home for more than two years before finding out about support that could help them live better.

  • A third (33%) of people who did not use aids or adaptations said this was because they thought they would have to pay for them.

People are being left out of pocket due to this confusion

The cost of aids and adaptations varies but can quickly stack up. 29% surveyed said they had spent over £1000 in total and in some cases this has risen to £5000.

So that’s why we’re calling on local and central government to do more to improve awareness of this provision and ensure that people have better access to the support they are entitled to.

Jennylyn Williams, has been living with rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years:

“After my diagnosis I found I needed a lot of help around the home and getting around in general. It can be a terrifying time being faced with the prospect of trying to do the things you’re struggling with, without help. It can leave you feeling so alone, and there’s no one telling you what help is available to you.

“The stress that comes with that can also have a knock-on effect on my rheumatoid arthritis making my symptoms worse.

“Aids and adaptations have taken away the stress of everyday life, and I feel so much better. It has meant the difference between being able to cook healthy meals or not.

“The aids mean that my fatigue doesn’t get in the way and it’s opened up my world again. I’ve gone from being totally restricted to being able to lead a ‘normal’ life.”

Jack Chisnall, has osteoarthritis and worried about his safety at home:

“The shower is a place where I am prone to slips and falls, and before having the grab rails I would fear going to the shower and would mentally have to prepare myself. I wasn’t aware that my local authority was could help.

“There was little information and I had to do a lot of research myself, which can feel twice as hard when your living with a long-term condition. I’m quite independent and don’t like asking people for help but without this equipment I would have needed someone to help me all the time.

“Aids and adaptations, like an elbow crutch have made life possible and given me my confidence back. It’s meant I’m able to move independently and even leave my house safely.”

Government can play a key role

“People with arthritis deserve better than this and should be provided aids and adaptations free of charge when eligible. We are calling on 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.”


Contact your local councillor

We’re calling on all councillors in England to ensure that people with arthritis can access the aids and adaptations they need.

Join us and get in touch with your local councillor to let them know what they can do for people with arthritis in your area. Click here to send the report to your councillor.

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