Arthritis is the most common disability in America, with one in five Americans having doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
It is even more prevalent in agriculture, with one-third of farmers and ranchers suffering the symptoms of arthritis.
AgrAbility is known for its efforts to enhance the quality of life for farmers with arthritis.
The AgrAbility program helps connect people with assistive devices so they can perform the tasks they need on the farm.
Farmers also come up with their own contraptions that sometimes work well. For example, adapted garden tools with PVC pipes to make longer handles or a wheelbarrow with a straight handle instead of one that requires you to turn your palms up.
Second and third generations of farmers with arthritis can prevent the disease from being as disruptive to them. There are resources available through the National Arthritis Foundation, and 4-H and FFA are bringing awareness of arthritis to a younger crowd.
Those with arthritis can improve and manage their symptoms by being active, eating well and getting enough sleep.
Reducing coffee intake, increasing stretching and exercise and learning simple habits such as leading with their good knee when going up the stairs, also help.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Being just 10 pounds over your ideal weight puts more pressure on your weight-bearing joints and is like carrying a 40 pound feed bag.
Stress also aggravates arthritis.
The Project encourages farmers, who often are reluctant to see a doctor, to make an appointment, and if they are diagnosed with arthritis to take the proper actions to maintain a good quality of life.
With the help of the Arthritis Foundation and the AbrAbility Project, farmers and ranchers can continue doing the work they love for years to come.