When people are diagnosed with arthritis, one of their first questions is whether they will be able to continue working. The severity of your arthritis will likely dictate the path of your career. People often carry out their professions through retirement by staying proactive in their health. However, this is not the case for a third of arthritis sufferers, who are limited in their work performances, or can not continue to work at all. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability and it will only become worse as the 46 million diagnosed adults become older.
Working is not only a form of financial security, but it is also a source of freedom. The inability to work can cause a sense of loss or depression. If you are experiencing limitations at your current place of employment, you may want to consider some changes. If you are in a position that requires a substantial degree of heavy lifting, squatting, or other physical labor you may eventually need to change positions. Many companies can offer a different position that is less strenuous or they may offer a retraining program. If you work in an office you can try to make the office equipment easily accessible, as well as using manual supplies, such as automatic staplers and pencil sharpeners. If your company will offer financial support, you can bring in an Occupational Therapist who will evaluate your work environment and offer suggestions that may help in your particular situation.
Your body will tell you when it is time to call it quits. Until then, working creates an environment where you can use your mobility to fight arthritis symptoms. You probably work for a purpose. You are protected by law, to not be discriminated against due to your disease. Your superiors’ are required to help you to a reasonable extent. You will know when you are no longer able to perform your tasks to the best of your ability. There will come a day for all of us that we say bye –bye to the working days, for some it may be sooner than later. Take advantage of your healthy years to figure out your options and your next course of action.