12 Rheumatoid Arthritis-Friendly Gadgets

Just one or two of these tools might make a huge difference in your life!

Diana Bierman

Does rheumatoid arthritis (RA) make it difficult to clean the house, get dressed in the morning or even use a fork? Fear not! Here, we’ve compiled the best devices to make anyone with RA’s life easier when pain strikes. Pick up one of these today!

Get dressed in a snap
A dual-purpose dressing aid stick—which has a push-pull S-hook on one end and a shoehorn on the other—works wonders. It extends your reach and makes it easier to get on pants, socks and even shoes. Find ’em at drugstores or online retailers.

Let a room ’bot do the vacuuming
Small, round battery-rechargeable “robots” work like a spiraling vacuum cleaner to automatically pick up crumbs and dirt from carpets, hardwood floors and kitchen tile without needing to be pushed by you. You can buy them at stores that sell regular vacuum cleaners.

Make mealtime easier
Invest in spoon and fork holders. These plastic slip-on devices fit most silverware. You can also buy utensils that come with large, rubber-gripped handles.

No-hassle dental care
The secret? Use easy-to-manage dental appliances like an electric toothbrush and a cordless, battery-powered flosser. Just test before buying: Hold the appliance in your hand to make sure it has a good grip and isn’t too heavy.

Get lost in a book
If holding books and magazines is difficult, try using a portable book holder that does the job for you. It adapts to hold a volume of any size, and the stand doesn’t interfere with easy page turning. You can even buy one with a long, telescoping stand that can tilt over a couch or recliner while you lie back to read!

Light the way in your house at night
Place motion-activated night-lights in areas where you’re likely to be walking at night, such as hallways near bedrooms and bathrooms. Make sure they use LED bulbs, since these are cheap, save energy and last longer than other types. Find them at department stores or online.

Get a grip on your steering wheel
If stiffness in your fingers makes it hard to hold your car’s steering wheel, a cushiony insulated steering wheel cover (found in most auto parts stores) may help. It will make the wheel larger and easier to handle. Even better, it’ll protect your hands from the hot and cold! Tip: Be sure to measure your steering wheel before buying so you get the right-sized cover.

Pain-free planting
For less bending and muscle work, opt for long-handled bulb planters, as well as trowels and scoops with a curved handle to minimize wrist twisting. And those pesky weeds? Nix ’em with a stand-up weeder that has a plunger-like mechanism: You just gently push the handle into the soil and up pops the weed!

A better bottle-cap opener
If your regular bottle opener isn’t working well on smaller bottle caps and lids, don’t despair. There are openers specifically designed for small medicine and vitamin bottles and smaller jar lids. Search for twist-cap openers at online retailers.

Stop scraping your icy windshield
Invest in a liquid spray de-icer to do the work for you. You can even use it before a storm to avoid ice buildup in the first place. Bonus: It works great for melting the ice around a frozen car door, too. (Look for it online or in the automotive department.)

Never iron again!
Buy an ironing spray. It de-wrinkles clothing in just a few mists. To find it, try searching online or visiting a store that sells cleaning products.

Make hair care less of a chore
Invest in brushes with wide handles or handle-less brushes to reduce stress on your fingers and wrist. A wide-toothed comb is handy, too, because it cuts down on your hair’s resistance, especially if it’s thick or curly. You can get these at most stores that sell regular hairbrushes.

April 2013