Norman Regional Health System

Woman in yellow shirt lays on couch closing her eyes and gripping in between her eyes due to headache.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Arthritis Awareness Month

May is Arthritis Awareness Month and to bring attention to this condition, Norman Regional Health System and the Arthritis Foundation have teamed up to kick-off the Walk to Cure Arthritis happening on May 21.

It’s time to turn no into yes

Here are some things to know about arthritis: arthritis will impact one in four Oklahomans and there are currently more than 50 million people in the United States living with arthritis. The average pain point for someone with arthritis is a five on a 10-point scale.

“If we want to help impact people with arthritis with their pain points, we need to make sure we do our part to help make their lives better and one of the ways we do that is by focusing on ‘yes,'” said Kris Falvo, executive director of the Arthritis Foundation. 

“People who have arthritis are often told ‘no you better not do that’ or ‘you better not exercise’ or ‘you can’t play with your grandchild on the playground.' We want to turn those ‘nos’ into ‘yeses’- ‘yes I can exercise,' 'yes I can play with my grandchild,' 'yes I can do these things and I can be more productive in my life,'” Falvo said.

The Arthritis Foundation does this by providing fundraising and conducting research as well as providing resources for those with arthritis. All services provided by the Arthritis Foundation are free to those with arthritis or their caregivers, offering services such as support groups, education, events and community outreach to bring more awareness to arthritis and more support to those who are living with arthritis.

Tom LaPlante, a Norman Regional patient living with arthritis, echoes the same sentiments as Falvo, saying that the key to living a happy, healthy life with arthritis is to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t and to follow a plan.

“It’s very important to maintain a program of good eating habits and proper exercise,” LaPlante said. “I know there are days where it’s tough to exercise, but it is so important to continue exercising and following healthy habits to minimize the negative effects of arthritis.”

Norman Regional will be competing in the Walk to Cure Arthritis under the team name Blue Racers. If you would like to walk with us, you can sign up to join our team or if you are unable to walk and still want to support the team, you can make a donation here.

Resources:

  1. Did you know that there are many volunteer opportunities for Older Americans in Norman, including: AARP, Food Pantries, Habitat for Humanity, Animal Rescues, Hosting an Exchange student, after school mentor, and our own Norman Regional Health System?
  2. Did you know there are several ways to improve your fitness level, even if you have arthritis, such as: Walking with Ease program through the National Arthritis Foundation, Senior Exercise classes at Norman Regional Health Club, and Arthritis Aquatics at the Norman YMCA?
  3. Did you know that the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Oklahoma is dedicated to promoting lifelong learning and personal growth of older adults, aged 50+, through a variety of noncredit courses? Their offerings range from one-time offerings- such as Mornings with the Professor— to longer, more specific courses such as Senior Seminars.