Spring cleaning often brings to attention those small repairs that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Stuck drawers, clogged drains, torn window screens – small household repairs can be an ordeal if you have painful hands from arthritis and a shortage of tools. But they don’t have to be. Nancy Ryan, an occupational therapist in New York City, suggests these simple shortcuts for doing common jobs with less pain and effort and with items you probably have on hand.
Does your hip throb when you get in and out of the bathtub?
Are stiff fingers making it tough to prep meals in the kitchen? Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, some daily tasks – cooking, bathing, doing laundry and moving around the house– can become a real challenge.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on remodeling improvements. There are steps you can take to make your home safe and protect your joints.
“The goal is to use adaptations to preserve your ability to perform and participate in activities of daily living,” says Scott Trudeau, PhD, OTR/L, productive aging program manager at the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Here are six tips to help you prep your abode for life with arthritis.
To minimize trauma on your body and joints while cleaning, first warm up by walking around the house. Then follow these joint-friendly easy cleaning moves.
Common mistake: Bending from the waist.
Typical tasks: Unloading washer, dryer and dishwasher; gathering and picking up items; washing dishes; ironing; cleaning under furniture; scrubbing tubs; making beds.
- Follow the old saying, “bend with your knees, not your back.” Slightly flex knees, and keep a hollow in your back.
• When standing, minimize back pressure by placing one foot on an elevated surface, such as a stepstool or bottom shelf.
• When unloading, use a “golfer’s lift.” Simply kick back the leg opposite your extended arm.
• Kneel or get help for floor-level or awkward tasks.