Two things that are critical to good RA management are exercise and healthy eating. Exercise has been found not only to help reduce pain, but to improve your ability to move. Plus it can just generally make you feel better. And because rheumatoid arthritis puts you at higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, it’s even more important that you and your family eat right to help reduce that risk. And it’s another area where your kids can pitch in.
For example, because Cawthorne has a hard time holding veggies, especially cold carrots, and their peeler, her daughter helps make sure the family gets plenty of healthy vegetables by chopping and peeling veggies for her mom.
Finally, says Klippel, it’s important to give your child a healthy sense of optimism about the future.
“You will have to take medication for a long period of time, but those medications are going to help you,” he says. “It’s a disease that Mom will have for the rest of her life, but it’s one that can be managed. We used to think of this disease as inevitably causing deformity and disability, and that’s not true anymore.”