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Making everyday tasks easier - arthritis

Introduction

As the pain from arthritis becomes worse, keeping up with everyday activities may become more difficult.

Making changes around your home will take some stress off your joints, such as your knee or hip, and help relieve some of the pain.

Your doctor may suggest that you use a cane to make walking easier and less painful. If so, learn how to use the cane correctly.

Make your home easier

Make sure you can reach everything you need without getting on your tiptoes or bending down low.

  • Keep clothes that you wear most often in drawers and on shelves that are between waist and shoulder level.
  • Store food in a cupboard and drawers that are between waist and shoulder level.

Find ways to avoid having to search for important items during the day. You can wear a small waist pack in order to hold your cell phone, wallet, and keys.

Get automatic light switches installed.

If going up and down stairs is hard:

  • Make sure everything you need is on the same floor where you spend most of your day.
  • Have a bathroom or a portable commode on the same floor where you spend most of your day.
  • Set up your bed on the main floor of your home.

Other types of help

Find someone to help with house cleaning, taking out the garbage, gardening, and other household tasks.

Ask someone to shop for you or have your food delivered.

Check your local pharmacy or medical supply store for different aids that can help you, such as:

  • Raised toilet seat
  • Shower chair
  • Shower sponge with a long handle
  • Shoehorn with a long handle
  • Sock-aid to help you put on your socks
  • Reacher to help you pick up things from the floor

Ask a contractor or handyman about having bars installed on the walls by your toilet, shower or bath, or elsewhere in your home.

References

Arthritis Foundation. Tips for Good Living with Arthritis. Atlanta, GA: Arthritis Foundation; 2001.

Updated: 8/4/2013

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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