Arthritis Tips: How to Overcome Common Physical Challenges

Here are a number of ways for you to make living with Arthritis easier.


1. Use a cane properly Not every cane is the same. Self-standing canes don’t fall over when not in use and provide better balance and stability for the user- especially on stairs and uneven surfaces. Standing with your arms relaxed at your sides, a properly fitted cane should reach your wrist.

2. Be careful around pets Pets can be a serious hazard when walking around the house. To make sure you avoid tripping over them, attach a bell to your dog or cat’s collar.

3. Simplify food preparation Food processors make for quick and easy food prep. Scissors can also be handy in some cases for cutting vegetables, herbs or meat. When you must use a knife, choose an ergonomic, soft-grip one that makes holding the handle easy. Handles designed for a neutral grip are best because they prevent excessive hand and wrist twisting.

4. Don’t carry heavy pots of water Fill a pot on the stove by using a pitcher. Or, place a metal colander in the pot and boil or steam your pasta, veggies, shrimp or eggs in the colander, so you can simply lift it out of the hot water. Two-handled pots and pans are easier to lift and use.

5. Use an electric shaver Electric razors are handy, especially for men. Also using a razor extension handle can help women easily reach their lower legs.

6. Use a staple remover to add or remove keys from a key ring To wedge rings open, use the teeth of a staple remover  to squeeze it and separate the rings in order to easily slide the keys on or off. You can even replace key rings with a user-friendly one, which can be squeezed to separate the rings.

7. Putting on a belt Lace your belt through your pant loops before putting on your pants.

8. Clean tubs and showers more easily Limit the amount of bending or reaching you do by using a long-handled aquarium cleaning tool. It helps remove stubborn bathtub rings and shower scum with less muscle.

9. Putting on shoes Slip-ons, Velcro fasteners, elastic shoelaces and a long-handled shoehorn are great for putting on your shoes.

10. Clean windows the easy way All you need is a sponge-squeegee head with a long handle, a few drops of dish washing liquid in a bucket of warm water and a rag (you can find kits at a local store). Let gravity guide you as you scrub the pane, from top to bottom, with the sponge, making sure to hold the squeegee below shoulder length to reduce pain. Then remove the soapy water with the squeegee and repeat- cleaning it with your rag after each stroke.

11. Putting on socks  Try to limit the amount of bending by using a sock aid to help socks, stockings, pantyhose, knee-highs or compression stockings go on easier.

12. Steam clean hard floors Steam mops are very useful since they use high-pressure steam to remove sticky, dried spots without having to get on your hands and knees to scrub.

13. Cut out scissor pain Battery-operated scissors or spring-loaded scissors with ergonomic handles require less dexterity and grip strength, which makes cutting coupons, packages, etc. much easier.

14. Drying and styling hair A hair dryer holder eliminates the need to grip and hold the device. A diffuser attachment will make drying hair easier and a volumizer attachment can give a fuller look with much less effort.

15. Buttoning a shirt Try to find a shirt with snaps instead of buttons. If you want an even easier alternative, look for a Velco button conversion kit which can help you convert your previous buttoned down shirts into Velcro-fastening shirts!

16. Scrubbing Keep some cleaning wipes nearby for quick cleanups. Cleaning messes when they’re fresh is much easier than trying to clean old stains and it is much more effective to quickly remove fresh stains with a cleaner, wipe dirty dishes for the washer, and rinse the sink after you brush your teeth than having to scrub off dried messes.

17. Zippers If possible, avoid clothing that zips in the back. Use a hook or cord-type zipper pull for better reach and leverage for anything that uses a zipper.

18. Brushing teeth Try using an electric toothbrush. It is easier to hold and the vibrating bristles do all the work. Or you can try using a silicone toothbrush, like those used for infants, for those bad days. It requires no gripping and just slips over your index finger. Wet your finger first to make slipping it on easier.

19. Yard work Use a weeding tool instead of bending and kneeling. To prevent weeds in garden beds, have a fabric weed liner installed and mulch regularly.

20. Vacuuming hard-to-reach spots Add a micro vacuum hose and cleaning kit to clean behind and under furniture and appliances, in clothes dryer and air vents, along windowsills, between car seats and in other tight spots. When vacuuming floors with an upright model, walk with the vacuum- rather than pushing and pulling it while you stand still- to help reduce strain on wrists, arms and shoulders.

21. Gripping handles Wrap hairbrush, toothbrush, spatula, yard tool handles and more with tennis racket grip tape in order to make the items easier to hold.

22. Making the bed A large, lightweight bedspread or comforter enables you to make your bed much easier. Just smooth your sheets and throw the comforter over them without the hassle of tucking in the corners.

23. Bathing Fill hand-soap dispensers with shower gel for easy dispensing. If it makes it easier, try pushing down the dispenser with your elbow or forearm. Use bathing mitts to ease scrubbing and long-handled loofas or brushes for tough-to-reach spots. It is a good idea to have a handheld shower-head, grab bars, or a shower bench so you are less at risk for falling.

24. Cooking meals Cook large meals at once and freeze or refrigerate the rest in individual serving sizes. Defrosting and reheating is easy when you’re having a rough day!

25. Taking out the trash Wheel garbage bags out to the curb by using a wagon or foldable shopping cart.

For even greater convenience, an in-home caregiver can assist with all of the daily tasks listed here.  Allways Home Care professional caregivers are trained to help you dress, eat, bathe, and get around your home safely. Find out more about our services.

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Arthritis Tips: How to Overcome Common Physical Challenges Here are a number of ways for you to make living with Arthritis easier. 1. Use a cane properly Not every cane is the same. Self-standing canes don’t fall over when not in use and provide better balance and stability for the user- especially on stairs and uneven...