“A place for everything and everything in its place.” It may be a cliché but for arthritis sufferers, having easy, no-fuss access to everyday essentials can make life much easier. Your home can be more arthritis-friendly with proper organization, effective products, and a little bit of planning. “Keeping the home organized helps all people, but there are some specific benefits for arthritis sufferers,” says Jen Zagorsky, Calgary-based professional organizer and owner of J’Organizing Inc. Primarily, you can cut down on challenging movements like gripping, twisting and bending down just by storing things differently or choosing the right products. Read on for some tips, tricks and product recommendations.
Make Simple Changes to Your Closets
“When it comes to your closet, wooden or plastic hangers are ideal for arthritis sufferers,” Zagorsky says. They’re lightweight, simple to grasp, and it’s easier to slip clothes off them than the trendier flocked hangers that cling to clothes, or wire hangers that are slippery and flimsy. Keep the clothes, shoes and accessories you wear most often between waist height and shoulder height. “This will prevent you from having to bend down or reach up, both of which can be painful with arthritis. If you’re able, customize your closet to make the most of its space and how it’s used,” she says.
Organize Medicine the Easy Way
Corral bottles of medication like †TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain, the number-one doctor recommended brand, in a small open bin with handles to make them easier to find and grab. If you use a daily pillbox, Zagorsky suggests choosing one with an attached lid for less fiddling. Look for a pill and vitamin planner case that lets you organize and track medications each day of the week.
Store Goods in Smaller Quantities
In the pantry, garage, storage closets, and even in your kitchen cupboards, opt for medium-sized containers. “Don’t purchase anything too big, which could end up being heavy, putting more strain on your joints. It may mean you use more bins for storing, but your joints will thank you for it,” Zagorsky says. If you do buy household products in bulk, keep a small quantity accessible for everyday use and put the rest away until needed. For example, it makes more sense to keep a three-week supply of dishwasher tablets in an easy-open jar on the kitchen counter than to bend down under the sink to open the heavy bulk box each time.
Swap Small Things to Make a Big Difference
A few helpful products can make a big difference around the home. Round doorknobs can be switched for easy-to-grasp lever-style pulls, which can help a room look updated, too. Swap a conventional toilet seat for a raised one in the washroom you use most often. In the kitchen, keep a purpose-made jar opener on hand to make it easier to budge sticky lids. Go for pots and pans that have handles on both sides to make for easier lifting and moving, and consider an electric can opener.
Downsize and Label
The fewer items you own, the easier it is to access what’s really important and store it in a way that’s accessible. “The more you have, the more you need to utilize hard-to-reach places,” Zagorsky says, so cut down on clutter wherever you can. And keep things organized by labelling shelves, cupboards and pantries so you immediately know what’s inside, rather than needing to rummage around or bend down to find what you’re looking for. “A much more minimalist approach in your lifestyle means less cleaning, less moving of objects and less strain in general,” she says.
†TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain is indicated for the fast and long-lasting relief of arthritis pain.
†2014, Rogers Healthcare Group Surveys on OTC Counselling and Recommendations
© Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2014