Arthritis

Practical Self-Help Tips

  • Work for short periods, with planned rest periods in between. If you cook, keep a chair or stool near the stove, so you can rest whenever you need to.
  • Use a toaster, broiler oven, electric frying pan, crock-pot, or microwave oven for tabletop cooking to eliminate bending over the stove and oven.
  • Arrange your storage facilities so the most frequently used items are within easy reach.
  • To relieve pressure on your finger joints, use pieces of contrasting colored foam tubing over utensil handles. Try using a rocker knife, available in independent living catalogs, to slice foods. As you rock the handle up and down, the sharp, curved blade slices through the food.
  • Use a rubberized or vinyl jar opener for gripping doorknobs and appliance controls.
  • Avoid lifting or carrying heavy household items. To transfer a pot from the counter to the stove, place the pot on a tray or cookie sheet with a raised rim and slide the tray along the counter instead of trying to lift the pot.
  • Use a cart with wheels to move items from room to room and to offer support while walking.
  • When you read, support your book with a folding book stand instead of trying to hold it open.
  • Install drawers on gliding tracks that open and close with a minimum of effort.
  • Try not to start projects early in the morning when pain and stiffness are most pronounced. Sometimes a warm morning shower or bath can relieve joint pain. Be sure to use a bathtub bench or shower chair when bathing.

Reproduced with permission of AFB Press, American Foundation for the Blind, from Maureen A. Duffy, "Additional Health Conditions" in Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home After Vision Loss, pp. 99-100. Copyright 2002 by American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved.

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