People with arthritis are missing out on vital free support in their homes

living aid arthritis, home help arthritis, free help arthritis, arthritis digest magazineIndependence and safety of people with arthritis are at risk because they are missing out on aids and adaptations they are entitled to from local authorities, says a new report from Arthritis Research UK.

Grab rails, raised toilet seats and non-slip shower mats help people with arthritis and related conditions lead more independent lives and may reduce the risk of them needing more formal care or even emergency services.

Almost everyone with arthritis that Arthritis Research UK surveyed (95%) who currently uses aids and adaptations, said they improved their quality of life. But despite the positive impact, almost a fifth of those eligible are not using aids or adaptations at all.

Furthermore, 84% of people with arthritis who are eligible for support are missing out on life-changing equipment.

Although local authorities have a duty to make aids and adaptations available, over half of survey respondents with arthritis who were eligible for support are buying equipment themselves, missing out on their entitlement. In fact, 85% were unaware that their local authority has a duty to provide this equipment. The average cost of an aid in the charity’s study was £200.

“Aids and adaptations are at the very front line of UK’s social care system and people with arthritis tell us how life-changing they can be,” comments Morgan Vine, campaigns manager at Arthritis Research UK. “It’s not fair that of the 17.8m people with arthritis and related conditions, so few are aware that this support is out there and even fewer have been assessed and provided with the equipment they need and should be getting for free.

“Adapting someone’s bathroom so that they can get up from the toilet can lead to fewer slips and falls, potentially avoiding emergency care. Providing aids for dressing or cooking can help someone stay independent and out of the formal social care system for longer.

“We need both local authorities and central government to work with us to make sure their legal obligations are met – to improve people’s lives and to ease the pressure on our already strained social care system.”

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