When someone you care about has psoriatic arthritis, it is not always easy to know how you can best support them.25 The Carers Corner aims to provide you with information on the impact of psoriatic arthritis and practical advice which may help you.
How can you help in daily life?
- Small acts of support can be a huge help
Even if the effects are not always obvious, psoriatic arthritis can have a big impact on a person’s life.26 Their disease may limit what they are and are not able to do, particularly when they are required to be active or mobile. Just being there to offer support, if they need it, to occupy them and take their mind off things can be a huge help.25,27,28
- Try to be mindful and supportive with changing moods and activity levels
Even though there may not always be a visible change, there will be periods during which their symptoms are worse, known as ‘flare ups’.3 At these times, their mood or level of activity may be impacted and they may require just a little bit more help. Plans may also have to be adapted accordingly.27,28 However, there will also be days when they are not so badly affected and will be able to do more. Try to help them remember this.27,28
- Show support in social settings
The impact of psoriatic arthritis can be more than physical. People have reported feeling embarrassed or isolated as a result of their disease,29 especially during periods when their condition is more visible. You may find that during these periods, they will be uncomfortable in certain social settings and may wish to avoid actions which would draw attention to their disease, such as shaking hands.30,31
How can you help them manage their condition?
- Educate yourself on psoriatic arthritis
When a person has just been diagnosed, fully understanding their disease and knowing what their diagnosis will mean can be a challenge. Psoriatic arthritis is a complex disease, which affects everyone differently.1,2 You can help them with this by doing some research into the condition yourself.24, 27, 28
- Reassure them that support is available
There is a lot of information and support out there, and people who will be happy to help. Patient groups can be a great source of advice, support and local knowledge, connecting them with a community of people who may be in a similar position.27 The person’s doctor may be able to recommend support groups in your area.
- Take notes to help them get the most out of their doctor’s visit
Depending on the person, they may also appreciate company during their visits to the doctor. During consultations, there can be a lot of information to take in. If the person is happy for you to, it may be helpful for you to take notes on what the doctor says to refer back to later, in case they are unsure of anything or need a little reminder.27
- Let them know that they have options
Psoriatic arthritis can be treated in a number of different ways. If you feel comfortable doing so, speak to the person about their specific goals for managing the disease. The What’s Your Combination? questionnaire
may help them identify which psoriatic arthritis domains they experience and help them to better understand their condition.