If you have arthritis, using assistive devices can make performing many daily activities — such as reading a book, opening a jar or buttoning a jacket — less frustrating. Contact your pharmacy or health care professional for information on ordering these items. Many aids also can be purchased at a medical supply store.
Use thick, padded grips. Many kitchen tools are now available with thick, padded handles. You can devise your own creations by wrapping foam tubing, the kind used for pipe insulation, around all kinds of hand-held household items — from toothbrushes, hairbrushes and combs to pens, key rings and kitchen utensils.
Learn tricks for turning lids, handles and knobs. The key is leverage — the longer the handle, the less force you need. You can buy extended handles for doorknobs and stove controls, gadgets to open car doors and under-the-counter jar openers that grip a jar’s lid as you physically turn the jar.
Use aids to help you dress. These can help if you have trouble bending and reaching. Aids include shoehorns with an extension handle, devices that help you pull up hosiery, shoes you close with Velcro rather than with shoelaces, and tools that grip buttons and zippers. You also can have elasticized Velcro tabs sewn onto shirt cuffs or have buttons sewn on with elasticized thread.
Use a walking stick or cane. Many models of walking aids are available. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist for recommendations about the best type of aid for you.
(Source: Mayo Clinic, online at www.mayoclinic.com.)