31 August 2020

A woman with osteoarthritis touching an ache in her hand while job searching

If you live with osteoarthritis, you'll know what it's like to experience regular physical discomfort

Osteoarthritis is a kind of arthritis which occurs when the protective tissue (cartilage, ligaments, muscles) at the end of skeletal joints continually wears down over time. It can be treated with medication, physiotherapy and surgery, but cannot be cured.

It can develop at any age; however it tends to be more common in people over 40 years of age who have had joint injuries, according to Arthritis Australia.

Any joints can be affected by osteoarthritis, however it most often appears in the knees, fingers and big toe joint.

If you have osteoarthritis, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the idea of work may not seem possible. Particularly if you experience physical pain and fatigue.

Osteoarthritis can result in reduced mobility, making it difficult to effectively complete some tasks.

Certainly, if the symptoms of your osteoarthritis are severe, a previous job involving a lot of bending and lifting, repetitive movements or standing for long periods would no longer be suitable.

Male tradesman with osteoarthritis in his knee at work

Finding a workplace to accomodate the limits on your mobility feels daunting.

If you were previously working in a role that you are no longer able to physically perform or be productive in, it would be understandable to feel anxious about what your career might look like in the future.

APM's Disability Employment Consultants are experienced at navigating this uncertainty for people in a similar position to you.

There is work you can still do, your dedicated employment consultant can help you find it. A number of companies and organisations are supportive and are willing to conduct assessments and make adaptions to the workplace that can help to maintain your productivity.

Below are the top 3 benefits of working for people with osteoarthritis

1. Regular treatment

Once you're employed and earning a consistent wage, you'll have more financial freedom. A regular work schedule also enables you to undergo regular treatments for your arthritis if required. Furthermore, you'll be able to regularly purchase your required medications or supplments to manage your pain and inflammation.

Things like improved access to healthcare/therapy, improved housing conditions and regular pain management can significantly improve your long-term wellbeing.

Male job seeker receiving treatment for osteoarthritis in his knee

2. Better self-sufficiency

With the ability to work and recieve regular treatments, you have the opportunity to resume or discover new activities you enjoy. Feeling physically and mentally able to manage your responsibilities and spend more time with loved ones, will help give people who live with ostearthritis a new lease on life.

When your role is created to suit your physical capabilities, you 'll find it easier to succeed and achieve your goals. This sense of self-sufficiency will make you more motivated and better able to deal with stress.

3. More sustainable employment

Your new role presents many exciting possibilities. One could be the potential for a new path in your current industry or a completely new industry to explore.

The support and flexibility you will have in your ability-matched role, will enable you to become more productive, and make your work feel more rewarding. Every experience you get to increase your knowledge and skills could also see you progress to a more senior role.

Finding work which accomodates your osteoarthritis is possible.

By contacting APM Employment Services, you can discuss the physical and environmental adaptions you require at work and assist them to place you in a job where you are capable. Maintaining your independence and productivity while you manage your osteoarthritis is front of mind for your employment consultants.

Meeting with someone from APM about the Disability Employment Services program and discussing the physical and environmental adaptions you require at work, will help them to help you. They can work with you to find you a job where you can continue to be independent and productive.  

Find out if you are eligible for one of APM's employment programs today.

Call APM Employment Services today on 1800 276 276 or email apm4jobs@apm.net.au

Author

Cindy Parsons

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