10 Ways to Make Daily Life Easier with Arthritis

Allison Tsai | Nov 29th 2012 Jun 19th 2017

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Ask for easy-to-open medication bottles

Prescription bottles can be difficult to manage when you have RA hands.  If you have trouble removing childproof lids on prescription bottles, ask your pharmacist to replace them with easy-to-open lids.

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Organize medications in daily and weekly containers.

These containers with snap-lock hinged lids come in 7-compartment, 14-compartment, or even 28-compartment configurations.  You can choose one day a week during which to fill the compartments with your medications and not have to open those tricky childproof lids for another week.

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Replace traditional wall light switches with rocker-panel switches

Rocker-panel switches can be turned on and off by pressing with an arm, elbow, or palm of the hand each which require less fine motor control than the traditional toggle wall switch.

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Turn any metal lamp into a touch-sensitive lamp

Lamps are easier to turn on and off if you install a lamp converter, which fits into the lightbulb socket and bypasses the on-off switch, making the lamp “touch-sensitive.”  If you use a three-way bulb, the light gets brighter with each successive touch and then finally turns off.

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Replace regular doorknobs with level handles

Or, purchase a rubber level that fits over any standard doorknob.  Lever handles are easy to operate since you can just push down with your hand, arm, or elbow.  Or you can wrap several rubber bands around the largest part of the doorknob to make it easier to grasp and turn.

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Keep doors easily movable by oiling squeaky or stiff door hinge

A little WD-40 or 3-in-1 Household Oil will do the trick.  If a door scrapes along a rug, plane the bottom of the door to make it open and close more easily.

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Ask the grocery bagger not to fill your bags too full

Spreading out the items into more bags will weigh less each. Ask that all frozen or perishable foods be put into bags together. Then, when you arrive home, you only need to immediately empty the bags with frozen or perishable foods; the others can wait until later.

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Use the same grocery store on a regular basis

This way you can learn where various items are located. Many stores provide copies of their layout available for customer convenience; ask for one.  Photocopy this layout and use it as a master shopping list by simply checking off the specific items you need.

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Getting active, eating healthy

Living with chronic illness makes maintaining a healthy weight challenging and regular exercise more difficult. However, regular exercise (whether that’s walking, stretching, swimming or another activity), and eating healthy can make a big difference in how you feel.

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Take care of yourself

Be sensible about how you spend your time and energy and do those things that are most important to you and to your family.  Try to eliminate unnecessary and/or difficult tasks.  Make compromises and remove the word “should” from your vocabulary.  By all means, give yourself permission to rest whenever possible.

NEXT: How RA Affects Men and Women Differently
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