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Getting RA Support While Social Distancing

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on January 11, 2021

When you have rheumatoid arthritis, rest is important, especially during flares. It helps reduce inflammation and keeps fatigue at bay. Staying at home to practice social distancing makes it easier to get the rest you need, but what about the essentials you need for your daily life?

Try these tips to help you get support while staying safe at home.

Have It Delivered

Many local businesses now offer delivery for essentials like groceries, take-out meals, prescriptions, and other purchases. You call or order online, pay in advance, and have it delivered to your door. Ask for contactless delivery. Instead of a direct handoff, the person who delivers your items leaves them outside your door.

Many also offer curbside pickup, where you pull up to the store or restaurant, pop open your trunk, and they place your order in it.

Pay in advance. Most online orders accept electronic payment. If you call it in, ask if they’ll take your credit card over the phone. Include the tip in your pre-payment.

For groceries, call or visit your local market online to see if they offer delivery or curbside pickup. Large chains often have delivery and pickup available. Independent shopping services can also deliver groceries directly to your door.

Give grocery orders plenty of time. Wait times are longer than normal, and you may face delays.

Stock Up

The less often you need to get things, the better. Try to stock up on food, medication, and supplies in larger quantities than usual. Don’t forget over-the-counter medications and supplies, like tissues, in case you get sick.

Have healthy foods on hand to ensure a balanced, nutritious diet and make meal preparation easier. A healthy diet helps you feel good and stay at a healthy weight.

Stock up on your regular medication. Check with your doctor, pharmacy, or insurance company to see if you can get a larger supply of your routine medications. Instead of going to the pharmacy, try a mail-order pharmacy or ask your local pharmacy if they deliver.

Ask for Help

Staying connected to others is important, especially now, when you may be physically distant from the family and friends in your support network. Talk to them about how you’re feeling, what you need, and how they can help -- whether it’s with meals, shopping, errands, or emotional support.

If you can’t have necessities delivered directly, ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to pick up what you need. Use contact-free methods for staying safe. If you can’t pay the store or restaurant in advance, avoid handing off money with your friend or family member. Instead, try a person-to-person payment app.

Get Support Online

Technology makes it easier to get the emotional support you need while social distancing.

Try an online support group for people living with rheumatoid arthritis. You can learn more about RA, get help managing symptoms, find emotional support, and connect with others.

To find a group, try the Arthritis Foundation or the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network.

You can find information and support online through organizations like Arthritis.org, where you can join virtual connection groups and listen to educational podcasts about living with rheumatoid arthritis.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:
American Foundation for the Blind: “Have it Delivered! Accessible Grocery and Food Delivery During Coronavirus Quarantine.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Care & Connect,” “Emotional Self-Care During Tough Times,” “Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

CDC: “Running Essential Errands,” “Prepare Your Health: Have You Planned Ahead?”

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network: “Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources.”

University of Maryland Medical System: “Grocery Safety.”

Hospital for Special Surgery: “Getting What You Want and Need When Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

National Council on Aging: “Ensuring Access to Needed Medications During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Minnesota Department of Health: “Managing Chronic Conditions during COVID-19.”

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