Electric jar opener. If your hands and fingers give you trouble, a jar opener can take away some of the need to grip and twist.
Wide-barreled pen. If using a pen hurts, get one with a wide barrel. It'll be easier to hold. You can also put cheap rubber grips over standard pens and pencils to make them easier to grip.
Cane. You might think a cane is for someone old or infirm. You might feel self-conscious using it. But if you're feeling unsteady on your feet, a cane could get you out of your chair and moving with more confidence, Ruffing says.
Don't just buy any old cane from the bin at the drugstore, she adds. See a physical therapist for advice. Make sure you know how to use the cane right; a lot of people don't. For instance, you should always hold it in the hand opposite the joint that hurts. So if your left knee aches, use the cane on your right side. Instruction from a physical therapist can help.
Elastic shoelaces. You don't need to replace all your lace-ups with slip-ons. Try elastic laces instead. "They look like a regular pair of laces," McCabe says. "But because they're elastic, you can tie them once and then just slip the shoes on and off after that."
Dictation software. If you use a computer a lot, the keyboard can make your fingers and wrists ache. Give your hands a rest. Use your voice instead. "Dictation software has become very accurate these days," Frost says. Using speech recognition, you can control your computer, surf the web, and dictate emails. Some dictation programs cost less than $60. Better yet, most new computers come with built-in voice recognition.
Getting Help With Arthritis Aids
Keep in mind that these are only a handful of the tools that could make your life easier. Whatever your RA symptoms are, there's likely one out there that can help you.
To find out what's available, see an occupational therapist who works with people with RA. The OT can come to your home or office and suggest measures or devices that will fit your needs. Ask your doctor for a referral.