Simple tasks such as opening a condiment container, tying shoelaces, or even holding a phone can be challenging and frustrating for someone with hand arthritis. But there’s help. In addition to seeing our hand doctor for remedies, individuals who have arthritis can take advantage of tools and equipment that can help them complete daily tasks a little easier.
12 Tool and Equipment Modifications for Hand Arthritis
Following are a few modifications of common household items that can help make your life easier if you cope with the daily frustrations associated with hand arthritis.
1. Prescription bottles
If there is no chance that a child will get a hold of your container and there are no other potential dangers, you don’t have to use a childproof cap on your prescription medications. Ask your pharmacist to give you non-childproof caps.
2. Hands-free phone options
Rather than constantly holding a cellphone or struggling to tap on the keys, use talk-to-text, take advantage of the virtual assistants, and use headphones. You may even wish to invest in a household virtual assistant that will allow you to play music, make phone calls, and look up information without ever reaching for your phone at all.
3. Automatic toothpaste dispenser
Twisting open the cap of a tube of toothpaste and then squeezing toothpaste onto the toothbrush can be extremely challenging, or even impossible, if you have hand arthritis. A wall-mounted automatic toothpaste dispenser will do the work for you.
4. User-friendly lights
If you need lamps or night lights in your home, purchase touch lights. For a more significant home modification, consider installing motion sensing lights.
5. Automatic/electric openers
Automatic or electric openers for cans, jars, and wine are readily available at local grocery stores and home goods stores. They are available in multiple styles, such as one from Black & Decker that allows you to place the can in the center of the appliance and touch a button to have the appliance open the container for you.
6. Laundry pods
Tossing a pod into the wash is easier than lifting a container of liquid laundry detergent, twisting the cap, pouring the detergent into the cap, and then emptying the contents of the cap into the washer.
Place handrails on both sides of a stairwell. Gripping a handrail can be challenging if you have arthritis in your hands, so having one on both sides can provide added support. You can take it a step further and install a stairlift, which is especially helpful if you also have arthritis in your back, hips, knees, or ankles. Don’t forget to do the same for outdoor steps, or consider installing an outdoor ramp.
8. Lighter kitchen equipment
As your pots and pans wear away, replace them with lighter versions of themselves. Lighter pots and pans are easier to carry and maneuver.
9. Ergonomically designed kitchen tools
Kitchen equipment manufacturers understand the plight, so they offer several options for kitchen cookware that is easier for individuals with arthritis to use. Consider a rocker knife and utensils with larger grips, for example.
10. Seat belt handles
Fumbling for a seat belt can be awkward. The solution? Seat belt handles that reach out several inches, enabling you to buckle up with ease.
11. Button hook
The Good Grip Button Hook makes buttoning your clothes easier. Simply place the hook through a button hole, use the hook to grab for the button on the other side, and pull the button through. It may take some practice, but it’s easier than it looks.
12. Portable grabber tool
A portable grabber tools allows you to grip items you might need. Many have magnets on the ends as well and can be three feet long. Think of it as a combination of a trash pickup tool and a pair of tongs.
Additional Tips for Living with Arthritis in the Hands
In addition to managing pain and avoiding injury, it’s important for people who have arthritis to conserve energy, helping to ensure that they can complete the tasks they need to complete later. Following are a few additional tips for conserving energy and moving with relative ease.
- Keep items you commonly use, such as cookware and appliances, accessible and at counter level to avoid bending or reaching for them.
- Pay attention to when and where arthritis pain might peak, and plan your day around it. For example, if hand arthritis is worse in the evening, consider prepping dinner earlier in the day.
- Buy pre-chopped fruits and vegetables and pre-sliced bread.
- Ask the butcher to cut and trim the meats for you.
- Take advantage of grocery delivery apps to avoid the heavy lifting. (Keep in mind, however, that some appropriate exercises can improve arthritis symptoms, so don’t give up on physical activity.)
- Use other parts of your body and other muscles when you can’t use your fingers or hands. For example, if you need to stir something, hold the utensil in a manner that allows you to comfortably use your shoulder or elbow to make the motions rather than your wrists, palms, or fingers.
For additional tips about living with hand arthritis, see Dr. Arora by making an appointment online or by calling (248) 220-7747.