13 Ways to Make Every Day With RA Easier

These little lifesavers will nip rheumatoid arthritis pain in the bud!

Lori Murray

Want to garden without feeling the pain from your rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Need to go grocery shopping but are too fatigued? We’ve got your covered! Read on to find simple ways to manage every day!

1. Slip on a carpenter’s apron
It’s got plenty of pockets, so whether you want to use it in the kitchen or garden, it’ll accommodate loads of utensils and tools so you won’t have to make as many trips back and forth to the pantry or toolshed.

2. Move furniture with ease
Get them socks! This “footwear” is specially designed to fit chair, love seat and desk legs, plus they’re washable. Get ’em online at online retailers or try this cheaper fix: Wrap small washcloths around the bottoms of furniture legs and secure with rubber bands.

3. Get quick relief for swollen and achy feet
Do foot rolls! Fill a can, bottle or similar round, smooth container with water and freeze it. Place the frozen container on the floor, then put your foot on top and roll it forward and backward along your instep for a minute or two.

4. Slice it the easy way
Invest in an electric knife for easy carving and cutting.
Tip: Buy a cordless one and be sure to check out the weight before buying so you know if it’s easy to hold above your counter or table.

5. In the mood to cook? Make the most of it
Cook extra on your good days, so you can save some of the meal for days when you don’t feel as well. Doubling the recipe generally doesn’t add a lot of prep time and is often healthier and cheaper than getting takeout. Meals that are particularly easy to double include soups, casseroles and pasta dishes.

6. Place table lamps throughout the house
If the bulb in the ceiling light goes out, you won’t be stuck in the dark. Later, you can ask a friend or neighbor to help you change burned-out bulbs in ceiling fixtures.

7. When gardening, kneel on both knees
That will make it pretty much impossible for you to twist your back. And if you’re weeding, move as you go rather than stretching to reach. 

8. Make trash removal a cinch
Buy small garbage cans with wheels, then use smaller waste bags or old shopping bags to keep your loads light. If it’s too tough to haul the cans to your curb, ask the waste removal company if the garbagemen can walk up the driveway to pick them up near your house.

9. Turn the tap with ease
Have lever-style faucet heads installed in the kitchen and bathroom to make turning on the water as simple as pulling or pushing a bar.

10. Make every greeting pain-free
Just use this slight variation on the handshake: Put your hand out with your palm facing down rather than to the side. This gives the person a chance to see the top of your hand, especially on bad flare-up days when you have swelling and redness. This signals to the person Be gentle!

11. Give yourself a grooming break
If it’s too hard to bend down to clip your toenails, invest in a long-handled toenail cutter with large, scissor-like grips that have enough space to accommodate swollen hand joints

12. Write a smarter shopping list
Jot down items in the order in which you’ll find them in your grocery store. That way, you won’t have to retrace your steps, which means you’ll exert the least energy possible.

13. Grocery-unloading the right way
If you’ve just returned from a major supermarket-shopping trip, just put away the milk, cheese and other perishable items. The other stuff can wait on the counter until someone can help you put it away, or at least until you get back your energy later on. 

April 2013