Independence is something that all of us value above many things in life. The idea of not being able to do the things we need to or enjoy is an unpleasant one and is no less important for arthritis sufferers.

For anyone with arthritis, one of the most upsetting aspects of their condition is the loss of independence. It is very hard to accept a change in your status from an active member of society to someone who is confined to the house for most of the time.

The subject of independence is discussed as follows:

  • Loss of autonomy due to arthritis
  • Solutions for regaining your independence

Loss of autonomy due to arthritis

It is easy to feel a lack of self-worth or inadequate. It is also difficult if you have been a fiercely independent person who now has to rely upon others for help and support. Some people adjust to this better than others.

But some people find it hard to accept a loss of personal autonomy or resent having to be dependant on others. They feel as if they have become a burden on their families and friends which can lead to depression.

Plus arthritis is often a progressive condition which means that they symptoms will worsen over time, leading to a greater reliance on other people.

Equally difficult is having to change jobs or even give up work altogether. This is discussed in greater detail in our employment section.

Solutions for regaining your independence

There are three ways you can approach this:

  • Ask for help and support
  • Self-help
  • Substitute difficult tasks for easier tasks

Ask for help and support

Asking for help is an issue which affects some people more than others. There are certain people who find it difficult to ask for help, seeing it as an imposition and a loss of control.

But people are usually more than happy to help. Your family is likely to be your first choice when asking for help but other options include friends or paying for help via private services.


Self-help means just that. It is based upon you finding ways of coping with arthritis on a daily level, for example, adopting a routine. This routine can involve periods of exercise interspersed with rest; set times when you take your medication; times when you do housework, see friends etc.

The more you are able to do the better this will be for your confidence and sense of worth as a person. Arthritis can be debilitating but there are ways of dealing with this which will enable you to be as active and mobile as you can. This will give your confidence a much needed boost.

Arthritis can leave you feeling robbed of your identity and a lack of control but being able to do things, however simple they are means that you regain control.

Substitute difficult tasks for easy tasks

If you are faced with tasks which you now find difficult then one solution is to substitute them for an easier alternative. This is a good option rather than deciding not to do them at all.

An example of this is to switch to having showers instead of a bath or choosing clothing which is a loose fit and easier to put on.

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