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Many people with arthritis experience difficulties with everyday activities caused by their condition (particularly those with arthritis of the hands). However, some may not realize that there are aids and gadgets available which can make life easier and more independent. Certain gadgets can simply make tasks easier to carry out, while other pieces of equipment can help reduce pain associated with symptoms of arthritis as well as improve comfort and safety carrying out tasks. An occupational therapist or local arthritis support group will be able to offer advice on your specific requirements. In the meantime, below is a general idea of the sorts of products available.
Most of these products can be found on Amazon.
Door Knob Grips: Image. Placed over door knobs making opening doors much easier.
For The Kitchen
Automatic Jar Openers: Image. No twisting or hand strength required. (One brand: Black & Decker). Manual versions are also available.
These are rigid braces which are paneled for support and tie with velcro straps around the lower back. They are designed for people with lumbar back pain as a result of arthritis, as well as disc hernia’s and back injuries. Thermoskin are the most popular. They also provide a range of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation products and are recommended by The Advocacy HealthCare Federation. If you have received an arthritis diagnosis, and it is causing back pain, this may be a good option.
The Swede-O Osteoarthritis Knee Brace is designed for people with unicompartmental osteoarthritis (where joint degeneration is limited to one side of the knee). Attached above and below the knee (image), this brace offers pain relief and corrects walking (gait) abnormalities associated with osteoarthritis. A relatively new invention, this brace may also delay the progression of osteoarthritis. Another product: the Thermoskin Offloading Knee Brace is for those with arthritic conditions or those recovering from a knee injury. See also, arthritis of the knee.
Hand & Wrist Products
Thermoskin and other companies (e.g. IMAK) offer a range of hand and wrist products which benefit not only those with arthritis but also with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis and soft tissue injuries. The arthritis glove fits like a regular glove (image) but is anatomically designed to provide warmth and compression, which can relieve pain. The Carpal Tunnel glove is longer offering extra support to injured or painful wrists.
Elevated Raised Toilet Seats with Armrests
Seat Lift Assists
These clever little products transform any chair (armchair, recliner, kitchen chair, office seat) into a lift chair (image). Typically lifts provide for users weighing up to 300 pounds and are portable, so can be used in various locations. They can be placed discretely under seat cushions. Uplift Technologies produce a variety of lifts which assist by lifting about 80 percent of a person's weight. Prices range from $200 to $600.
Walkers (also known as rollators) are a wonderful help for those who have difficulties walking (image). Walkers are suitable for those who have restricted leg movement but not restricted enough to require a wheelchair. These devices support a person while they are walking. The user keeps their hand on the walker at all times so that they do not loose balance. Some walkers also have seats, which are a useful addition to keep an eye out for. An occupational therapist will be able to recommend the most suitable type for you. Wheeled walkers are the most suitable for someone with arthritis as they glide more easily with movement. Prices range on average from $200-$800.
Those with severe debilitating arthritis may eventually consider using an electric wheelchair. There are 4 types of power wheelchairs: Foldable wheelchairs, travel wheelchairs, standard wheelchairs and heavy duty wheelchairs for outdoor use. Each type of chair has different benefits and serves people with different mobility needs. Manufacturers include: Golden Technologies, Pride Mobility Products and Invacare. Also online, americanwheelchairs.com offers a wide range of new and used wheelchairs, and accepts Medicare and most private insurances. Prices range on average from $1,400 to $3,000.
Those buying a wheelchair should do so with the help of an occupational therapist. The therapist can set up trials with local suppliers and complete a wheelchair assessment outlining the prescribed requirements of the chair. This will result in a 'shopping list' of sorts, including wheel size requirement, chair dimension, cushions and backrest details. This assessment will be based on a physical examination of the patient, their cognitive abilities and list of functional abilities. The therapist can also advise on how to integrate the wheelchair into everyday activities at home or at work.
Scooters (image) are ideal for those who may not require a mobility device for everyday use, but who still have difficulties managing longer excursions around shopping malls. If you are thinking about buying a scooter, do check what the maximum speed is, how much weight it can transport and how many miles you can expect to go on a full battery. Manufacturers include: Pride Mobility Products and Shoprider. Prices on average range from $900 to $2,000. Also, americanwheelchairs.com offers a wide range of new and used scooters.
|Related Articles on Arthritis
For more associated issues, see the following:
• Arthritis Treatment: Therapies, medications and procedures.
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