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Devices for Living Easier with Arthritis

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here is WebMD's room-by-room guide to easier living with arthritis.

Your Bedroom

Simple things for most of us, like getting dressed in the morning or turning on the reading lamp, can be difficult for people with arthritis, but certain assistive devices can help make the process easier.

  • Sock aids and zipper pulls. A sock aid can help you pull up your socks without bending your legs. A zipper pull, which has a large rung that attaches to a zipper tag, makes zippers easier to grab and zip.
  • Shoes with Velcro grips. Try walking shoes with Velcro grips instead of shoelaces to make everyday dressing easier.
  • Big buttons and pockets. Shop for garments with buttons the size of a nickel and large pockets to carry keys or other hard-to-grab objects. Whether bras or shirts, look for front-opening closures.
  • A reach extender. If your closet has hard to reach storage areas, a reach extender lets you reach 26 to 30 inches without stretching.

Consider lamps that turn on with a touch, or are activated by voice or motion. Replace small rotating knobs on existing lamps with larger, grip-and-turn knobs. Phones with giant buttons are also easier to use. Special pillows including neck pillows can help avoid stressing your neck or neck muscles while you recline or sleep and a large body pillow can support your arms and legs during the night. Some people with arthritis find it helpful to attach Velcro tabs to the corners of sheets so that they can make the bed without tucking in the sheets.

Your Bathroom

Several simple innovations can make a world of difference in the bathroom.

  • Faucet turners. These levered handles make turning on faucets in the bathroom sink much easier.
  • Bathtub bar. Install a bathtub bar to hold on to as you get in and out of the tub.
  • Shower seat. These simple seats fit in your tub or shower stall. They can help you conserve energy while bathing and avoid falls.
  • Elevated toilet seats. An elevated toilet seat can reduce the strain created by getting on and off traditional low toilet seats.

Also while you are bathing or showering, a long-handled bath brush or sponge can help you wash hard-to-reach places.

Your Living Room or Den

Relax with less stress using these helpful aids in your living room.

  • One-touch, or voice- and motion-activated lamps. Depending on your preferences, get lamps that turn on with a simple touch to the base, or when you walk in the room or talk.
  • A cervical pillow. Keep a cervical pillow on the couch with the rest of your throw pillows so you can keep your neck comfortable while watching television.
  • Grip-and-turn door knobs. Replace small rotating door knobs with door levers or form-fitting rubber knob covers that are easy to grip and turn.
  • Bookholders. If you enjoy reading on the couch, purchase a bookholder for hands-free reading.

Remember, don't watch television while lying on your back because this can cause neck discomfort and back pain. And if changing channels on the remote control is challenging, consider purchasing a universal remote control with larger buttons.

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