Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Assistive Devices for Easier Living
Assistive Devices for the Bathroom
Bathing and grooming with rheumatoid arthritis can be especially hard. Think about these options:
- A tub bench or shower seat lets you bathe more comfortably and reduces the chance of falls. Nonskid shower mats will make the tub safer, too.
- Grab bars make it easier to get in and out of the bath.
- A raised toilet seat with side rails reduces the strain of getting on and off.
- Long-handled sponges help you to wash your legs and feet without bending. Also, large sponges are easier to grip than washcloths.
- Easy-to-pull shower curtains are better than heavy shower doors.
- An electric toothbrush with a fat handle is easier than a regular toothbrush.
- By putting a seat in front of your sink you can avoid leaning forward; the same with using a freestanding mirror for grooming.
These items and many more are available at full-service pharmacies and surgical supply stores. The Arthritis Foundation ((800) 283-7800) is also a great source. If you can't install something yourself, the store can often arrange it, or check with your local hardware store to see if they can recommend someone to do it for you.
If you haven't already, seek a referral to an occupational therapist from your rheumatologist or your regular doctor. Occupational therapists specialize in helping people keep their independence. They may have other ideas for assistive devices or home modifications that could make a world of difference.