This blog post will explore the advantages both mentally and physically that owning a pet can have on someone with a disability such as arthritis.
Having a disability can affect your everyday life, harming your heart rate, communication and causing depression. However, a furry companion like a cat or dog can help to reverse the negative impact.
Owning a pet positively influences two main aspects of life, mood and health, which means pets affect the body in terms of decreasing rates of depression, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Let's explore these benefits in more detail…
Pets and Their Effect on Blood Pressure and Arthritis
With arthritis, inflammation can occur in joints, constricting arteries and reducing the rate blood can flow through the body to supply muscles with oxygen. The restricted flow leads to increased blood pressure, which is troubling for arthritis patients as they are at a 50% higher risk of heart attacks.
So, it's essential to reduce blood pressure, and pets can help. Pets have therapeutic calming auras. When a pet is in your lap, you talk, stroke and nestle into its warmth, forgetting your worries, which decreases your heart rate. When you are tired or nervous, it's nice to have a companion.
Pets can make a person feel safe in their home or when out and about; animals can be a security blanket, guard the person or their belongings, and be a protective barrier or conversation starter. Feeling safe and secure can also lower levels of anxiety and stress that heighten blood pressure.
Pets and Their Effect on Cholesterol Levels and Arthritis
Those with rheumatoid arthritis are at high risk of heart disease, 50% to 70% higher, and cholesterol is a contributing factor. Having elevated cholesterol levels in the body increases pain within joints and other tendon complications.
You may have high cholesterol levels due to long periods of stress, a lack of exercise or a poor diet containing too many saturated fats. Studies have shown that pets decrease the triglycerides present in the body. Triglycerides are the three fatty acids that contribute to high cholesterol levels.
Reducing cholesterol in the body can help keep heart disease at bay. To lower cholesterol levels, you should exercise daily for at least 30 minutes, and having a pet is an excellent excuse to go for a walk and is undoubtedly a great benefit. Having a pet with you can reduce the stress or anxiety you may feel when out walking.
Pets and Their Effect on Cognitive Behaviour/Depression
It's estimated that up to 41% of disabled adults have depression, which is staggeringly high, and there is no one cure to suit all. Many factors cause depression in a person's life, and it can be a struggle to help change a person's mindset.
The companionship of a pet, a being they need to care for, can give a disabled person the necessary motivation and responsibility for a positive change. Caring for others can come more naturally than caring for yourself when struggling with depression, so an animal's natural temperament to play and exercise can have promising long-lasting effects on their mental state.
Pets Effect on the Elderly
Pet owners over 65 visit their doctor 30% fewer times than non-pet owners. There's no clear-cut reason, but the benefits of reduced stress, increased exercise, and companionship all help play their role.
Some Tenura Products that Make Pet Ownership Easier for the Disabled:
Tenura products can help those who have weak grip strength or conditions like arthritis care for their pets.
Tenura Extreme Grip Mats
When it comes to feeding your pet, they tend to be pretty eager, diving headfirst into their food bowl, knocking it around the floor, with no worry about the mess they create. You can prevent this previously inevitable mess by placing the pet's food bowl onto a Tenura Extreme mat. Tenura Extreme mats stop the food bowl from sliding across the floor or getting tipped over.
Nothing is sacred when you have a pet, they wonder where they please, and cats especially seem to find themselves upon the cabinets displaying your favourite ornaments. Instead of watching their next steps with fright, place your vases and such on a Tenura Extreme mat. The objects stick to Tenura mats, so the next time your cat is up there, you won't need to worry nor tidy up anything broken.
Tenura Grip Roll
You can line underneath pet products such as litter trays, scratching posts and other large products that unwantedly move. Just cut Tenura silicone grip roll to size and place it between the floor and pet accessory.
Tenura Grip Strips
During walks, you may find that the lead is tricky to keep a hold of, and it's uncomfortable. You can instantly improve these issues by twisting Tenura grip strips around the lead's handle. Grip strips add a layer of cushioning silicone comfort with grip-enhancing properties that stops the lead from sliding out of your hand.
Similarly, you may wrap Tenura grip strips around the brushes handle when grooming your pet, which aids your grip, giving you more control. Brush handles can be thin and difficult to grasp, so build up a few layers of Tenura grip strips to increase the handle's width, which is a helpful idea for those with arthritis or other conditions that limit dexterity or strength of grip.
Extensive research into the animal should be completed before being housed, as not all animals/breeds will be appropriate. It's very much dependent on the person's specific disability needs.
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There are things you can do to try and improve your well being and decrease the pain you may feel due to Arthritis. Staying active can help you to avoid stiffness in your joints and can also be a morale booster. Being out in the fresh air and underneath the warmth of the sun can provide many benefits for those who have Arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that tends to affect those who are part of the older generation this is often due to the natural wear and tear of material within joints. It does affect all ages and often impacts those who have been incredibly active throughout their childhood. Injury or infection can also increase your chance of Arthritis. Having said that, you should still exercise but do so on a flat, low impact ground that can absorb some of the force through the joints and help out to avoid falls. This can mean that the protective tissue within the joints has been worn away. It is beneficial to help decrease your risk of Arthritis and there are also certain activities you can do to relieve symptoms related to Arthritis.
Why is sunshine helpful to people with Arthritis?
Getting plenty of sunshine has been linked to a decreased risk of autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. This long-term condition affects the joints and often causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Sunshine helps the body to synthesise Vitamin D. Vitamin D keeps bones healthy and the autoimmune system working. The autoimmune system is responsible for fighting off infections/diseases. Sunshine for those who have Psoriatic Arthritis, they often see the clearing of patchy red skin associated with this condition. Psoriatic Arthritis affects some of those who have Psoriasis, which is a condition affected by the immune system. It is thought to be triggered by unusual immune responses and a sign of Psoriasis is red patches of skin near the affected joints.
Activities for people with Arthritis
There are all sorts of activities you can do in the sun. For people with Arthritis, it is important to keep in mind that pain may be experienced through some exercises, so it is essential to start slowly and get to know your bodies' limitations. You do not want to cause yourself further pain. Tenura has researched and found that the following activities reduce the risk of Arthritis and help improve the lives of those who have the condition.
Walking is an activity that can involve friends and family. You can visit new places and soak up the sunshine and fresh air. Walking is a great activity for people who have Arthritis, being sat still can cause the joint to stiffen up. Keeping muscles and tissue in the joints warm and limber and can allow the person to move easily without as much pain.
To make sure this is enjoyable and safe, you must wear trainers that fit and provide support for your ankle joints. A flat smooth surface such as a public footpath can also offer you more control over your movements and can help to avoid any accidental injury that could be caused. A walking stick or other daily living aids could be used to help you access more routes and offer an extra level of comfort and confidence. If you pair a walking aid with Tenura anti slip grip strips around the handle, additional comfort and support is offered and the handle will also have non slip properties.
Yoga is adaptable to each individual. As the body becomes comfortable with the movements, the person becomes more flexible and can gain a connection between the mind and the body. Yoga holds this connection at its core and it is said to help relieve and find the source of pain. It can also help you find ways to deal with the pain. The slow and calm breathing can be a source of pain relief and is a useful technique, according to Dr. Kolasinski, a Rheumatologist at the University of Pennsylvania. To make this a safe activity make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing, including trainers that offer ankle support. You may also want to invest in knee and elbow bands/braces that provide support too.
To reap the most benefits from yoga, you should focus on a mixture of muscle-strengthening exercises, flexibility exercises and balance exercises.
Cycling is an accessible activity for people with Arthritis as less strain is put through the joints due to the mechanical structure of a bike. These kinds of low impact activities are perfect for active people with musculoskeletal conditionals.
Explore the range of Tenura daily living aids to find products that can help you complete exercises with more stability and confidence. Many of the daily living aids can have a positive impact on your life and be a great Arthritis aid.
Having older relatives that live alone can be a concern, but Tenura’s products are designed to make daily tasks easier and less hazardous. This blog is all about which of our products can be the most effective and affordable.
Aqua Safe Anti Slip Strips
Aqua safe anti slip strips and have a strong adhesive bond, this non abrasive material is soft on skin yet durable when applied. To ensure there is an effective bond you will need to clean the surface, we recommend an alcohol based cleaner (Heskin’s IPA Cleaner) in comparison to a cream cleaner; this is because cream cleaners leave behind a residue causing the application to fail. This product comes in 2 shaped (discs or strips) these prevent slipping in the bath or shower or for extra support when moving around.
This product can be used;
- On tiled flooring
- Bath and shower trays
Anti Grip slip strips and rolls
Anti slip grip and rolls are available in large rolls or pre cut strips coming in a range of sizes. They can be used all around the house where extra grip is needed. Easy to apply, you simply grab the roll (and cut to size if needed) or strips and then wrap them around the surface then with the silicone grip they hold together for easy application and removal.
You can apply these to;
- Door handles for extra support.
- Pan handles
Table and floor mats
Tablemats are made from silicone and create a strong bond to hard surfaces preventing any unwanted movement. The table and floor mats have an adhesive like quality making it easy to apply and remove from hard surfaces without leaving a sticky residue behind. They are easy to clean either with warm soapy water or in the dishwasher, once dried they are ready to use again and again.
These can be used;
- Under a chopping board when preparing your favourite meal preventing slips especially when using a sharp knife
- They are also effective when put in front of beds or chairs assisting when sitting or standing with extra support.
On a side table, for example next to the front door, with the table mats bright colours it makes it easier to find where to put your personal belongings down, for those with visual impairments. Place your keys, phone or wallet on the mat preventing things from falling off.
Anti Microbial Moulded Cup Holders
Moulded cup holders are similar to regular coasters however these fit to the bottom of your cup creating an anti slip base. They are brightly coloured making it easier to find them or make sure that it is on the bottom of the cup. Made from silicone they have heat resilience preventing any marks or stains when placed on tables.
These cutlery grips are made from silicone which is soft and easy to grip, the large grip reduces pressure on joints reducing any discomfort. They are washable either with hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. Washing these will not get rid of any of the qualities and they are ready to use again once dried. Available in 2 sizes (children and adult) these cutlery grips fit around;
- Dining utensils (knives, forks, spoons)
- Paint brushes
- Tooth brushes
- Make up brushes
At the Gairdner Foundation International Award ceremony in Canada this year, two of Britain’s leading biomedical researchers, where presented with The Canada Gairdner Award for their research into which molecules cause inflammation and destruction of joints in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Professor Sir Ravinder Maini and Professor Sir Marc Feldmann have been working in the biomedical field for decades, and the award presented was for the research they both performed in the 1980s. These Gentlemen discovered anti-TNF (Tumour necrosis factor) treatment for RA. Anti TNF therapy is now used to block anti bodies, allowing a swift improvement for suffers of rheumatoid arthritis. TNF is a protein messenger molecule, which drives the inflammation in the joints, so by creating the drug, they could prevent inflammation and further damage by effectively blocking TNF.
This research was crucial to enabling major development in effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, and since then has had an incredible impact on the world, allowing the correct treatment to be given out to RA suffers worldwide, giving millions of people a better quality of life. Identifying which molecules cause inflammation and destruction of joints meant that these Gentlemen provided the stepping-stones for organisations to create treatments to try to break down these molecules building in joints, allowing the pain and inflammation to subside for a period. By regularly taking the medication, arthritis suffers no longer have to deal with the pain and difficulty that everyday tasks created for them previously.
Tenura shares this vision of making life easier for those that suffer with impairments to strength of grip, which adds unnecessary difficulties to everyday life. Our silicone jar and bottle openers are just two of our products dedicated to those who suffer from pains in joints, making certain tasks easier to do, and relieving the pain that normally comes with them.
We congratulate Professors Ravinder Maini and Marc Feldmann for their efforts to help people suffering from RA, and outstanding research into the causes of arthritis.
Arthritis is a condition that affects more than 10 million people in the UK. It is usually a condition that the older generation is diagnosed with. Arthritis causes loss of grip strength in many people as well as inflammation in joints. This pain can make life difficult especially when it comes to small repetitive movements such as when you use sharp kitchen utensils for food preparation.
The use of knives in the kitchen is a risky business anyway, a lack of concentration could mean an injury, but with arthritis, the risk of injury is greater. That is why using daily living aids can be beneficial. For example, when using a Tenura anti-slip mat under a chopping board, the anti-slip mat stops unwanted movement like the chopping board slipping.
Tenura anti-slip grip strips are the perfect arthritis aid for this particular job, allowing you to enhance your grip on the knife handle. By using Tenura anti-slip grip strips, you can build up the handle to a more manageable size that your hand feels comfortable with, relieving stress in the joints and allowing them to move as freely as possible whilst maintaining control of the knife. Using Tenura anti-slip grip strips will increase confidence and allow you to perform daily tasks freely without the struggle.
At home, I am sure you have a utensil draw. If you cut to shape Tenura anti-slip roll and place it in the draw you can stop the unwanted movement of utensils as you open/close the draw but also as you go to pick up the utensil. The utensils remain in place due to the non-slip properties of Tenura silicone anti-slip roll. Someone with arthritis may feel pain when straining to reach a utensil but if the utensils are held in place they can be much easier to access.
Take a look at our range of arthritis aids and see which could work well for you in your daily activities.
For more detailed information on arthritis to help with understanding the condition and how to live with the symptoms, please visit the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society website and join the ever-growing community.