At an event in Parliament on 7th May, Martin heard about new research from Versus Arthritis which shows that 43% of people with arthritis said they struggled with tasks at home for more than two years before finding out about equipment they were eligible for.
Versus Arthritis asked MPs to come to the event to find out about its Room to Manoeuvre campaign to improve access to aids and adaptations in the home. 94% of people with arthritis said the aids and adaptations they use have improved their life, and local authorities have a legal duty to provide aids and minor adaptations free of charge to all those who are eligible. However, 33% of people who the charity surveyed said they do not use any aids or adaptations because they thought they would have to pay for them.
Martin also spoke to people with arthritis at the event about the impact of their condition and how aids and adaptations, such as grab rails, electric tin openers and stairlifts, have made a difference to their lives.
Arthritis and related conditions, such as back pain, fibromyalgia and gout, are the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting 17.8 million people every day. Arthritis can affect all aspect of someone’s life – from getting dressed and going to work, to cooking meals and spending time with family. People with arthritis often spend years with severe pain and fatigue.
Aids and adaptations can help people with arthritis to remain independent in their homes, keep them out of hospital and reduce the need for more expensive care services. However, too many people face barriers to accessing this vital support or are paying for it themselves because they are not aware of the help available.
Versus Arthritis is calling on the Government and local authorities to ensure people with arthritis and related conditions are told about the aids and minor adaptations that can help them and, if they have eligible needs for care and support, that they are provided with this equipment free of charge.
“4,949 people in Cleethorpes are living with osteoarthritis of the hip, 8,590 with osteoarthritis of the knee and 16,865 with back pain. Many more are affected by other related conditions every day. I wanted to show support in Parliament for my constituents and help tackle the issues they face.
“It’s clear that aids and adaptations in the home can help people remain independent, and I want to make sure that people with arthritis in Cleethorpes know about the support available and are able to easily access it.”
Maureen, who has rheumatoid arthritis and spoke with MPs at the event, said:
“I use aids at home, and they help to keep me independent. However, I didn’t realise I could get them through my local authority, and it’s not clear what to do when you need support. I enjoyed being able to speak to MPs about my experiences. It’s important that MPs learn about the problems people with arthritis have accessing aids and adaptations, so they can make sure the right help is available.”
Shona Cleland, Public Affairs Manager at Versus Arthritis, said:
“It was great to see Martin at our event, hearing from people with arthritis about the life-changing impact of aids and adaptations and what more can be done to improve access to this support.
Arthritis slowly intrudes on everyday life, affecting the ability to work, care for a family, move free from pain and live independently. We know that aids and adaptations can improve quality of life for people with arthritis, so it is vital that this equipment is provided free of charge to everyone who is eligible.”