Thursday, November 12, 2009

Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Program Identifies Universal Accessibility of Consumer Products and Packaging

Today’s tamper-resistant packaging, child-proof bottles and unwieldy kitchen tools may leave people wondering why companies make “unfriendly” products. All of these products serve a purpose, but many people – especially the 46 million Americans with arthritis – yearn to find easy-to-open medications and household or office supplies that simply make daily tasks less painful and more manageable. The Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use program encourages manufacturers to design user-friendly products and packing, and nearly 100 products carry the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation logo.

As the nation’s most common cause of disability, arthritis is an extremely debilitating disease that can affect every aspect of everyday tasks. One in five Americans live each day with the aches and pains of arthritis, which makes even the simplest aspects of life difficult. Arthritis is a disease that affects 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children. Arthritis is a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes, resulting in more than 19 million people with activity limitations each year.

Products endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation Program are universally accessible, which means that the products don’t have to be specially designed for people with a disability, but they should be designed in way that all consumers can use them. Through its Ease-of-Use Program, the Arthritis Foundation recognizes products that meet strict criteria and prove to be easy-to-use.

“Arthritis is a debilitating disease that impacts the lives of millions of Americans,” said Pat Gottfried, president of the Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter. “The Arthritis Foundation wants those facing these conditions to understand that there are solutions to help.”

All Ease-of-Use products must pass a rigorous evaluation process by experts in universal design at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The scientists conduct tests to determine if the products are easy-to-use for someone with arthritis. In addition, this evaluation includes testing by people living with arthritis.

While the testing process for the commendation involves hands-on testing by people with arthritis, all consumers should find the products easier to use. This universal accessibility is the goal of the Ease-of-Use Program.

Once a product receives a passing evaluation, it then becomes eligible for the program. To date, several products have received the Ease-of-Use Commendation and have been approved to carry the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation logo.

To learn more about the Ease-of-Use Program or for a complete list of products, visit the Arthritis Foundation Web site at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Economy and Challenges

Recently, I was talking with some local college students about the economy and the challenges that we see in raising financial support for the Arthritis Foundation. The discussion moved to the shift in people's priorities due to the current downturns. In the back of my mind, I had an internal dialogue going about how these fiscal changes might benefit non-profit organizations in the future. It might be wishful thinking to say it out loud, but my hope is that the shift in people's priorities about their own lives can extend to the priorities of their corporate roles in the community. Businesses are made up of giving people, and giving people give to other people and so on. We are pleased to work with some great corporate partners each year and thank them for their generosity. Without the support of these generous stewards, our mission delivery would be greatly challenged. In the future, my dream is to see more companies invest in the valuable work of community organizations and grow a stronger “economy” of caring services for those in need. We always welcome your suggestions and referrals to build new partnerships. Feel free to contact Todd McPherson, Director of Corporate Development, ( or (303)756-8622 x245) with your ideas.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Arthritis Isn’t Scary

This weekend families who are affected by Juvenile Arthritis (JA) came together to network with each other and to celebrate Halloween with “Arthritis Isn’t Scary.” Many of the 6,000 kids in Colorado and 300,000 in the US, who have been diagnosed with some form of JA are unable to enjoy activities like trick-or treating due to their disease and the pain it causes them. The Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter holds “Arthritis Isn’t Scary” so that kids with JA can be kids by enjoying the games, haunted house and trick-or-treating at the event. Thank you to the 27 volunteers who made this event possible and to all the families who helped make this year’s “Arthritis Isn’t Scary” so much fun!

If you are interested in learning more about the Juvenile Arthritis Program at the Arthritis Foundation, please contact Isabelle Stohler at

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bones aren’t only a Halloween decoration!

October can be such a beautiful time in Southern Colorado. The leaves are changing and the colors are so vibrant. October is also a time for health fairs and lectures.

Making the Connection, A Bone & Joint Event
Saturday, Oct. 24th, 7am to 1PM in Canon City at
St. Thomas More Hospital, Community Education Room
Please join us for a series of informative lectures on bone and joint
health, courtesy of St. Thomas More Hospital and the Arthritis
Foundation Rocky Mountain Chapter, Southern Colorado Office.
Topics discussed will be Better Nutrition for Bone & Joint Health, Joint replacement-before and after surgery; Inflammatory vs. Non-inflammatory Arthritis. Osteoporosis screenings will also be available. For more information, call (719) 285-2100 or (719) 520-5711.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Goals and Challenges

It seems that no matter where I am when I mention that I work for the Arthritis Foundation the comment is always “I have arthritis” or “I know someone who has arthritis”. Arthritis truly touches everyone. I think that is what makes working here so interesting. The need is so great; the work is truly important. We work through highs and lows, but we keep working. Some days the feeling is that we can meet this challenge – we can obtain our goals. Other days the question of success arises – can we really do this – does it really make a difference. Thankfully, those days are in the minority. We know that we will meet these challenges. We know that someday research will find the solution for these problems. In the meantime we are committed to making every penny count. We continue to give our energy, time and talents to raise funds for research and programs; to provide information; to raise awareness of arthritis; and to help enrich the lives and encourage those we serve. It truly is a rewarding time and place to be.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What is the message?

There are some days when the job I have, and the work I do, becomes even more meaningful than the day before…

I try to talk with my mom every evening – she’s lives near Washington, D.C. and I usually only see her at the holiday’s. We almost lost her last year due to a serious infection and connecting with her has become a really important part of my day. She started seeing a rheumatologist late last year (after lots of nagging from me!) and has been getting what she feels to be good treatment, advice and support for her osteoarthritis. She’s got a pretty aggressive form of OA, so aggressive that other doctors she sees (cardiologist was the latest) question whether she really has OA or RA. She’s been tested for RA two different times, but each time it came back negative. She was pretty uncomfortable and worn out last night from just her regular, daily activities, and it made me think: what if she really DOES have RA, and we just don’t know it yet? The disease is so complicated and different for different people, is it possible that she’s received two false negatives? And if not, what other treatments are available for her OA so that she doesn’t have to deal with so much pain and fatigue? I’m comforted by and convinced that there are a lot of smart people out there conducting important research on how to prevent – control – and cure – arthritis.

There are a lot of people out there who aren’t aware of the impact of arthritis, the number of people affected, and the work that remains to be done. My job is to give them that message. Time to get back to work…

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall is coming

Summer moving into fall – getting ready for all growing things to slow down. This does not pertain to us humans who are still growing, We need to keep moving our muscles and bones on a daily basis. Things at the Arthritis Foundation are continuing to grow with new programs and new opportunities to help all of us who have any tie to arthritis or any of its affects. I just built a storage shed, which will force me to look at all the items currently in the garage to see what really needs to be kept and what can be recycled. This will be a great project to complete before winter gets here. Keep focused on what is ahead and we will do the same at our office also.