"5,074 people in Gosport are living with osteoarthritis of the hip, 8,778 with osteoarthritis of the knee and 17,813 with back pain, so I wanted to show my support for them in Parliament and hear from people with arthritis about the help that makes a difference to their lives." Caroline Dinenage MP
Local MP Caroline Dinenage, joined people with arthritis at an event in Parliament recently to hear about life with the condition and learn how aids and adaptions in the home can help people live independently.
The event followed the launch of Arthritis Research UK's Room to Manoeuvre report, which looks at the provision of aids and adaptations for people with arthritis. MPs heard from people with arthritis about how aids and adaptations – such as grab rails or specialised kitchen equipment - have changed their lives. They also tried a variety of home aids and heard about findings from the report, which reveals that many people aren't getting the support they're entitled to.
Arthritis and related conditions are the number one cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting 17.8 million people across the country. Many people with arthritis live with severe pain, fatigue and limited mobility every day, which make even simple tasks a challenge.
Aids and adaptations, such as grab rails, raised toilet seats and non-slip shower mats, help people with arthritis to lead more independent lives and may reduce the risk of them needing more expensive formal care or even A&E services. Almost everyone (95%) with arthritis surveyed by Arthritis Research UK who currently uses aids and adaptations said this help improved their quality of life.
Local authorities have a legal duty to provide aids and adaptations to those who are eligible. However, the charity's report found that 8 in 10 (84%) survey respondents who are eligible for support are missing out on life-changing equipment, and more than half are buying equipment themselves.
Arthritis Research UK is calling on local authorities to ensure people with arthritis and related conditions are assessed and, if eligible, provided with aids and minor adaptations free of charge.
"Aids and adaptations in the home can help people to remain independent for longer, and I want to make sure that people with arthritis in Gosport know about the support on offer. I urge people to reach out to Arthritis Research UK for expert information, help and advice."
Natasha Packham, a campaigner and volunteer who spoke about her condition at the event, said:
"It was great to be able to share my story about aids and adaptations and the fact that I didn't know that such help even existed, or the big difference it could make to my life. I'm glad that many so MPs attended, and that I was able to speak to them about this."
Shona Cleland, Public Affairs Manager, said:
"It was fantastic to see Caroline at our event. Arthritis and related conditions are the number one cause of pain and disability in the UK. However, a lack of awareness of the support – such as aids and adaptations – available to help people live independently is a real issue. Arthritis can affect every aspect of someone's life, from getting up in the morning and going to work, to looking after family and making a meal. It's great that Caroline wants to learn more about the help that can really make a difference to constituents with arthritis."