Seconds Matter: The Making of our National Arthritis Week video
Seconds Matter is a simple concept. But one which resonates with everyone we talk to about it.
There's always a story - if only I'd caught that train, I wouldn't have missed my meeting. If only I'd answered the door quickly, I wouldn't have missed the postman.
We took that concept and applied it to the lives of those who have arthritis. Those people who, no matter how hard they try, can't just spring up to go to the front door when the bell rings.
But as we are able-bodied, we can't completely understand what people with arthritis go through on a day-to-day basis. So, in comes the suit.
The idea to wear a simulation suit came from the product team at Premier Care in Bathing. They use the suit regularly when testing their bathroom and shower range to ensure that the suites are of the best quality and comfortable for those with mobility problems.
But then they wondered, if bathing and showering is difficult then what other day-to-day tasks could people with arthritis struggle with? How hard can it be to brush your hair or make a cup of coffee.
Arthritis can really affect how quickly and easily you do everyday chores. The condition is an inflammation of the joints and problems with the joints makes moving around much more difficult.
There are over 200 different types in the UK and 10 million people go to see their doctors about the problem each year. 8.5 million people have evidence of osteoarthritis in their spines.
Osteoarthritis directly affects the joints, as cartilage gradually wears away. Rheumatoid Arthritis, the second most common form of the diseases, is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the joints. Both cause inflammation and this is where the pain comes from.
Having seen those statistics, we thought we’d do something to raise awareness about something which touches so many lives.
In comes “Seconds Matter”. We wanted a release which coincided with World Arthritis Day 2014, so we set about organising a video shoot and for that we needed twins. We wanted to demonstrate the differences between an able-bodied person getting ready for a day ahead and the difficulties a non able-bodied person faces.
The actors who took part in the video, Nick and John Morgan, were really up for the challenge. They understood that it’s a condition which can affect people of all ages and wanted to be part of something which raises money for charity.
What about the suit? Was it really that physically challenging to wear?
“It was really difficult to wear,” Nick said.
“I found it genuinely problematic to move around in and walk to different locations. I was also wearing ear-muffs to simulate what an elderly person might or might not be able to hear. This also took away another of my senses. There were multiple ‘What’s’ and ‘Pardons’ as I tried to follow the director,” he added.
Nick explained that the most interesting aspects of the suit were the ankle weights on his legs. Going from being a completely mobile person to someone with restricted movements was a strange experience.
“One of the things which really surprised me was the simple things… such as making a coffee. It involved many different sensations which we all use day-to-day and take for granted, for example movement of the hands, eyes and walking, carrying a cup. It just wasn't easy”
We drew quite a crowd while we were filming in West Sussex. People were really intrigued as to what we were doing. And it generated many different conversations about the condition.
Five different people who chatted to us, ranging in age from 30 to 60, had a different form of arthritis.
One of the residents in the street was delighted when we asked her to be an extra - Mrs Venn is the woman in the video with the dog. Surprisingly, she and her husband both have arthritis.
This allowed us to do a bit of market research at the same time about how their lifestyles are affected by the condition. Like so many case studies, they both have different symptoms. Mrs Venn has tender joints and Mr Venn has extreme pain which flares up sporadically. He can’t even get out of the car sometimes, Mrs Venn explained.
With this video we want to raise awareness about how difficult it can be living with arthritis. We want people to think twice when they see someone taking their time to get on a bus or to walk down the stairs. We wanted people who live with someone who is less mobile to understand how daily tasks can take much longer, when you’re struggling to move your joints.
Additionally we want people to realise that it doesn’t just affect the elderly. More than 12,000 children in the UK are living with it and one in five adults aged 50-59 have the condition.
We want to help people, giving them resources to guide them once they have been diagnosed. So as an accompaniment to the video we've produced a series of blogs.
The first is about the state of arthritis in the UK. It explains how many people have the condition, what the different types are, how research suggests numbers are growing and what the leading charities propose should be done about it.
Then there’s practical ways which people with arthritis can manage their condition. So we produced a blog with top tips to leading a fully life. Ranging from how to have a healthy diet, essential to keep joints and muscles strong, to how people can adapt their homes to make their lives easier.
Most importantly the aim of “Seconds Matter” is to raise money for Arthritis Care, a user-led charity, so they can continue their work in supporting people with the condition.