Arthritis can be a painful, debilitating condition. Stiffness and joint damage can result in a person having difficulty completing simple daily tasks due to limitations moving about the home. While some people have more trouble with daily activities than others, just about everyone with arthritis has had at least a little trouble managing tasks at home. Arthritis is not curable, but with a few simple adaptations, mobility around the home can be much easier. If you have arthritis, you may want to consider these simple tips to make your home easier to manage.
The stiffness arthritis causes in the ankles and feet can make it difficult to walk, especially in the morning. The foot adapts more slowly to changes in the walking surface, causing a person to become unstable and increasing the risk of falling. By removing throw rugs and areas rugs from your home, you will eliminate changes in floor surface and stability that could increase your risk of falling. You will also eliminate the curling or frayed edges that these rugs sometimes have that may trip you or snag your walking devices.
Raise Chairs and Beds
Just like stiffness in the feet may cause difficulty walking, stiffness and pain in the hips and low back may cause difficulty with bending and sitting. It may become difficult to lower yourself into a chair and almost impossible to get back up again. Raising low chairs and beds further off the floor will make sitting down and standing up again easier. Put a wooden platform between 4 and 6 inches high under each chair you would like to raise for the most stability. Chair and bed risers of assorted heights and prices are also commercially available at home interior stores or online.
Put Grab Bars in Your Bathroom
Standing up from the toilet or getting in and out of the bathtub can be just as difficult as managing a low chair. Stiffness in your hips, low back and knees could cause you to become stuck in the bathroom, requiring assistance. Placing sturdy, metal grab bars near your toilet and bathtub will give you a handhold when maneuvering yourself in these areas. Bars can be mounted on the walls to allow you to pull yourself to standing, or bars can be mounted on the sides of your toilet or tub to give you a pushing surface for your hands. If you mount bars to the wall, make sure they are sturdy and are mounted into the wall studs. Do not pull yourself up on a towel rack, as these bars are not meant to support weight. A variety of grab bars are available at home improvement and home medical stores.
Adapt Your Door Handles
Inflammation and pain from arthritis can also limit your hand strength and cause difficulty grasping and turning door knobs. Changing your door knobs to lever style door handles will allow you to open doors by pushing down with your wrist and forearm aligned, rather than attempting to grasp and turn with your fingers and wrist. You can replace round door knobs with lever style handles available at most home improvement stores. A less costly option is to purchase door handle adapters that are available through independent living catalogs. These adapters either slide over or clamp on to your existing door knobs.
These are a few of the changes that you can make to your home to accommodate the limitations you may experience from arthritis. The changes listed here are easy to make and are fairly inexpensive. Family members or friends can help you make these changes if you are not able to complete them yourself. By making these changes, you will enhance your safety and improve your ability to move around your home independently.