Look for Ways to Make Life Easier
Rather than simply performing activities out of habit, pay attention to your daily tasks and make modifications as needed. For example, if you are going to drive a long distance, be prepared to take breaks so you can rest your hands.
Stretch out your fingers now and then as you travel, consider wearing driving gloves, and avoid gripping the steering wheel too tightly. Becoming aware of your daily activities and taking steps to modify them is a highly effective way to reduce discomfort, prevent joint damage, and prolong your ability to use your hands and fingers effectively.
If you need assistance coming up with ways to make life easier and more comfortable, ask your health care provider to refer you to occupational therapists. They are experts who can teach you exercises and strategies for living well despite your arthritis.
Make Hygiene Simple
Consider purchasing an electric toothbrush. If you prefer a manual one, choose a toothbrush with a large, fat handle. Avoid purchasing toothpaste that comes in a tube with a narrow cap and instead opt for one with a large cap or with a dispenser button.
Use personal care products that are easy to handle. Consider using soap on a rope in the shower so you won’t lose your grip and drop the soap, creating a fall hazard. Consider using a bath mitt rather than a brush or washcloth when you bathe.
Choose Your Clothing Carefully
When shopping for clothes, be on the lookout for clothing you can get on and off easily. Avoid clothes with buttons, small zippers, and other difficult fastenings.
Other suggestions for clothing to make dressing simpler are:
- Clothing made from stretchable fabrics
- Clothing with elastic around the waistline
- Velcro fastenings on shoes
- If you wear a necktie, choose the clip-on styles
- Make sure your clothing fits you well, as clothes that are too tight are harder to put on
Protect Your Joints in the Kitchen
Several interventions and devices are available to make kitchen chores easier:
- Utensils with built-up handles
- Plates with a suction cup bottom and built-up edges
- Devices to help you open jars