I am taking my advocacy another step forward to break out of the isolation covid-19 and living with arthritis created.
I recently was awarded a Community Action Grant from The Arthritis Society – This is what I am doing with the $5000 from the grant.
Back story how I found out about the opportunity and the push I needed to apply
I was informed of the grant the president of The Arthritis Society when she took the time to schedule a meeting with me to learn more about me. I was quite honored she wanted to speak with me and that she was taking the time to speak with regular volunteers with the charity.
When she told me about the grant I originally was thinking of applying for something else but as I read the grant criteria and thinking of my own experiences as someone with arthritis along with hearing a demand from others that in person activities were enjoyed and missed. I saw this as an opportunity to fight the isolation the pandemic and living with arthritis has created.
The fact a grant like this was even available to someone like me was rather exciting as I have been watching grants available to patient advocates in the US but couldn’t find any here in Canada that I could apply for.
What I decided to create and why
Little to no support is offered to adults with arthritis. There are programs for youth and programs for seniors, the age range of 25-55 is often excluded yet significant portion of people with arthritis are diagnosed in that age range. If someone does not fit that age range they would not be turned away, all are welcome.
Introducing The Arthritis Social Hour.
Arthritis is isolating.
It doesn’t have to be though.
The Arthritis Social Hour is designed by someone living with arthritis for those living with arthritis in the Metro Vancouver area to connect with others in a fun and engaging environment. Events will take place at the Mary Pack Arthritis Clinic building.
Those who attend the Arthritis Social Hour are to be empowered and leave with more resilience in their self-management and understanding to fight the fire of arthritis.
The program is designed to help arthritis patients become more active, understand their arthritis better, connect with others living with arthritis, and reduce some of the isolation the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon us.
A presentation or panel discussion will be included in each event, which will be followed by a discussion for all guests to participate in, which will be interactive, experience-based, and will reflect that session’s theme. There will also be time for free socializing among guests to get to know others.
The target audience of the Arthritis Social Hour events are for anyone who lives with arthritis in the Metro Vancouver area in the age range of 25-55, an age range without any support groups or events focused around. Each social hour will be designed for topics which are popular and important among those aged 25-55 living with arthritis. If someone does not fit that age range they would not be turned away, all are welcome.
Each event will be two hours’ in length.
Topics of social hours
COVID-19 Chat – A discussion for those living with arthritis to express their concerns, experiences and thoughts about the pandemic in a safe and non-judgmental environment with others who understand.
The first social hour will take place Friday November 25th 2022 6-8pm at The Mary Pack Arthritis Center on the 3rd floor.
Future Arthritis Social Hours coming up include:
Registration will open individually each month.
Yoga for arthritis – With the guidance of a certified yoga instructor, guests will learn about the benefits of yoga for arthritis, and will have an opportunity to practice yoga in a relaxing environment.
Two exercise classes on strength training and physical activity classes – Dr. Jasmin Ma has done research with the RA community on how people living with RA can effectively perform strength training.
Dr. Linda Li will speak on the importance of physical activity, daily steps and monitoring our symptoms along with a patient partner in her research, Eileen Davidson. Dr. Linda Li’s symptom monitoring program OPERAS recently won an Ideator Award from The Arthritis Society.
Parenting with arthritis – Panel of two parents living with arthritis, and Dr.Catherine Backman, Occupational Therapist, who has performed research around parenting with arthritis to join the chat. Child care will be provided for those who need it.
Art Night – Occupational therapist Catherine Backman will join us to talk about how art therapy helps depression and chronic pain, while guests have an opportunity to create their own works of art with watercolors.
Advocacy Class with Spencer Van Vloten from BC Disability, and Eileen Davidson, followed by games. Games will be created to teach others about arthritis and advocacy and also test their knowledge of arthritis.
Urban Poles Nordic walking pole class and outdoor walk in Stanley Park.
Covid-19 Precautions Will Be In Mind
During the event, masks must be worn at all times unless social distancing while eating. Events are limited to 15-20 individuals to keep it safe. COVID-19 Protection bundles will be given to each guest including KN95 mask, small hand sanitizer bottle and sanitizing wipes. Temperature and a COVID-19 checklist will be performed before each person enters the room.