If you or someone you care for has arthritis, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 54 million Americans are living with arthritis. This disease can be debilitating and can make ordinary tasks more challenging. But this common disease can be easier to live with when you try some easy approaches. In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, check out these life hacks that can make arthritis more manageable.
Swap Out Your Door Handles
Traditional round door knobs can be difficult to turn for people living with arthritis. Switch out the doorknobs for the lever type instead. Lever-style door handles can often be much easier to open because they don’t require as much force to use.
Get Adaptive Cutlery
Meal times can be an exercise in pain and frustration when you have arthritis. A Google search for “utensils for arthritis” will reveal a wide selection of user-friendly knives, forks, and spoons. Companies like Oxo Good Grips offer utensils with wider handles made of plastic or rubber. Other utensils wrap around your hand for greater control. The more ergonomic design makes it easier to use utensils with comfort and stability.
Use Heat and Ice at the Right Times
A lot of people with arthritis know that heat and ice can help relieve pain and stiffness. However, for maximum relief, it’s important to time them correctly. Apply heat, such as a rice sock or heating pad, shortly after waking up, when your muscles are at their most stiff. Use ice, especially bags of frozen vegetables, at the end of the day to reduce inflammation.
Dictate Text to Your Computer and Phone
Typing on a computer can be difficult, particularly if you do so all day at work. Both Windows and Mac computers have built-in speech recognition programs that translate words you speak into text. (Don’t be worried about mistakes, either, because you can correct what it types!) Both Android and iPhone systems have similar voice-to-text programs as well, which make it easier than having to use difficult fine motor skills when your fingers are stiff.
Stash a pair of small scissors in your purse and your car and keep them within easy reach on most surfaces in your home. Why struggle with opening small packages, which can cause pain, when you could just snip it open with scissors instead? The child-size school scissors are small and easily portable. Stock up at back-to-school time to buy them when they’re really cheap.
Create a Bedside Spa and Supply Station
Arthritis pain is often most likely to strike before bed or upon waking up. The walk to your medicine cabinet for medicine or to your kitchen for water can be especially difficult when you’re in pain. Set up a small station by your bed with all the things you’ll need: lotion, towels, and medicine. A mini fridge is a worthwhile investment to keep water and cool packs close at hand.
Soak the Aches Away
Taking a warm bath is soothing for anyone, with or without arthritis. But when you add Epsom salt to your bath, it becomes medicinal. The natural magnesium found in Epsom salt will relieve your muscles and keep aches at bay.
If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis, Assisted Home Health & Hospice can help. From assistance with daily tasks like meal prep and light chores to Physical and Occupational Therapy following a joint surgery, our team of healthcare professionals can help those suffering from arthritis to manage their disease in the comfort of their own home. To learn more, call 800-949-6555 or visit us at www.AssistedCares.com.