Living with arthritis: Assistive devices

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Inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age.

Different types of arthritis exist, each with different causes including wear and tear, infections and underlying diseases.

If you have arthritis, assistive devices may allow you to be more independent with daily tasks. Consider these options:


• Hand aids
Look for aids that provide a wide-diameter grip. Many pens,
for example, have thin shafts that force you to grasp them with a tightly closed fist. A foam or plastic sleeve that slides over the pen can correct this problem.
• Grooming and personal hygiene
If you have limited range of motion, use long-handled brushes and combs. Consider bathing aids such as long-handled sponges and brushes, bath benches and grab bars. Use an electric tooth- brush, a Radius toothbrush or one with a foam handle. Use mirrors with foam rubber handles for an easier grasp.
• Getting dressed
Buy a shoehorn with an extension handle and use a stocking
aid to help pull on hosiery. Look for tools that grip buttons and zippers. Sew elasticized Velcro tabs onto shirt cuffs. Select wraparound skirts or stretch trousers if limited range of motion makes dressing a challenge. Try clip-on neckties.
• In the kitchen
Put everything that you use often within easy reach. Store frequently used cookware and utensils in cabinets at hip-to-shoul- der height. Consider a single-lever faucet so it’s less taxing on your finger joints. Use an electric can opener and electric knife.
• Cleaning your home
Use a long-handled mop, dustpan and broom. Keep cleaning supplies on each floor and store supplies within easy reach. Avoid unnecessary bending or stooping.

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