Adapting to Arthritis


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One obstacle that many elderly people find themselves in need of overcoming is arthritis.  Upon diagnosis of arthritis, it is important to adapt an attitude that the patient is not helpless.  Many of the difficulties presented by this condition can be minimized or overcome with a good, positive attitude.

In order to make life easier on a day-to-day basis, it is recommended to move any frequently-used, heavy items to a level where they will be easy to access and use.  It may be advisable to replace heavy items used on a daily basis, such as pots and pans, dishes and drinking glasses, with lighter ones in order to avoid unnecessary frustration, pain and difficulty.  If bending is difficult or painful, bed and chair risers may make life more pleasant.  There is even a raised toilet seat available to avoid bending in the bathroom.

Likewise, there are many adaptation items readily available in shops across the nation, over the internet or by referral from a physician.  However, many of these items can be costly, so it’s worth taking some time out and digging into one’s personal supply of ingenuity to survey the patient’s surroundings and see what items can be easily adapted.

  • If brushing teeth has become difficult, an electric toothbrush and pump toothpaste could solve the problem.
  • Thick, rubber tubing can be slipped onto the handles of pieces of cutlery in order to allow eating in a less awkward and less painful fashion.
  • Round, household doorknobs that require a twist of the wrist to operate may be replaced by low-cost door levers, operated by the simpler action of pushing down.
  • If certain items of clothing have become difficult to get into or take off, a change of wardrobe may be in order.  Conversely, a simple apparatus to assist in reaching across the body to pull on a sleeve or a jacket can be assembled from examples shown on the internet.

With some simple adaptations, coupled with supervised exercise, medication and physical therapy, arthritis patients today can expect to live a long, productive and largely independent life.

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