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Making life easier?

User3832User3832 Posts: 4
edited 4. Jul 2018, 11:20 in Living with Arthritis archive
I know this has probably been gone over countless times and I’ve read a lot of stuff in the forum using the search so I hope making a new post isn’t a problem(after all if everyone just searched and never posted the place would be quiet).

What are the best things that can make day to day life easier? My mum likes to be independent and do everything herself.. quite stubborn actually and won’t ask for help most of the time.

I’m looking for anything that I can buy that will help out even the simple tasks that people without arthritis take for granted.

She has both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and is in a lot of pain as I’m sure a lot of you are well aware, she takes a lot of meds for it but she also has angina which I believe certain meds interact with each other so can’t take some of the arthritis stuff. Her hands and feet are quite bad. Her ankles and toes have been fused and also her knuckles in her hand. She’s tried lots of different footwear but does anyone have any recommendations( I think she gets a bit embarrassed by wearing some big bulky shoes).

If there’s anything I need to add I will do but any help and advice is much appreciated.


  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome and of course it's not a problem for us.

    I can empathise with your Mum as I, like a few others on here, have done the arthritic double ie my RA has led to OA. This usually happens when the inflammatory arthritis (RA) is not treated early enough with the Disease Modifying Arthritis Drugs (DMARDS). I expect your Mum is on one or more of these (I take methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine) and, frankly, if she can't take NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory drugs) because of her angina she's not missing much in my experience. Unlike DMARDS they don't slow down the disease only treating the symptoms.

    Feet? There are quite a few threads on here about shoes. Hotters and Sketchers seem to get good press but I've no idea personally. I've had to wear surgical shoes since my 20s and, yes, one feels self-conscious in them at first but, on the other hand, I can still walk which is useful. Last time I saw the podiatrist she commented on the 'good condition' of my feet. Both myself and my husband promptly burst out laughing but, apparently, after all the years I've had RA, she would have expected sores, ulcers etc so I guess the surgical shoes have done a good job.

    For general help there are hosts of things on the market. Just look at any online disability store. I have a long-handled sponge for washing, an electric toothbrush, a sock aid, a long shoe horn and dressing stick, thicker pens. The list of useful aids is endless but does depend on the needs of the individual.

    Disability aids aside, I would never go back to a normal vaccuum cleaner after experiencing the ease of my cordless one, especially on all-laminate floors. I've just had a walk-in shower installed and that is heaven every morning. With it came a new extra-high loo which means I no longer need my raised loo seat. I've had my kitchen cupboard shelves turned into drawers which makes getting at the contents so much easier. My husband has raised the height of my armchair.

    Just a few thought there. Please get back if there is anything else or anything specific.

    Just a - hopefully comforting - thought. As RA can sometimes affect the heart I believe DMARDS might actually be helping her angina though please don't take my word for that as I'm not at all medically trained.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh gawd, where to start? It's a very individual thing, people have to find their own ways and solutions because, with the best will in the world, the able-bodied don't have a clue about how varied our personal restrictions can be.

    I count myself fortunate that I started this nonsense at a young age (37) because my thinking was plastic enough for me to readily adapt. I have psoriatic arthritis, osteo arthritis and fibromyalgia. I recall my late Ma refusing to take even the simplest of actions to make her life easier because she had never had to (oh, the grumbling about 'I used to be able to' ) whilst being full of often less-than-helpful suggestions for me. :roll: Over the years I have altered how I do things (veg does not have to be prepared standing up, doesn't have to be peeled in cold water either, ironing can be done sitting down or a machine can be bought), when my husband was working I would cheerily press-gang the postman, a passing bin man or a neighbour to open bleach bottles (mine are labelled DON'T CLOSE) and other containers, I bought lighter kitchen equipment, fatter-handled cutlery, tried on-line grocery shopping and ultimately moved house to remove the nuisance of stairs. Floor spills are wiped dry with a tea towel under my foot, my vacuums are cordless, dishcloths are wrapped around the tap and twisted to wring them out, some things are never put away to save the bother of getting them out, we adapt to suit our needs but the key thing is being willing to adapt. The older one is the harder that can be, spirit is essential to help us through the day-to-day dross of living life with disease but it can be deleterious if not applied sensibly.

    I soon realized that asking for help meant that my precious energy reserves were still available for things I wanted to do rather than wasting them on chores etc. It has been known for me to take all day to change the bed, prepare a meal or do some ironing but I have the satisfaction of knowing I have beaten the disease and done things on my terms.

    Old age holds no physical fears because I am already nicely decrepit, can only worsen and am used to adjusting. I use my DLA to pay for a cleaner, she is not a true essential but she can do things I can only dream about such as ascending high steps to get at lampshades, kneeling to clean the bath and shower (I haven't knelt since 1997) and her energy means she cleans better than me! DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • BettyMacBettyMac Posts: 164
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Do you have access to an occupational therapist.
    My sister is one - and she has recommended several items, for
    both my mum and I, which helped with various tasks.
    The silicone doodah for helping undo bottles and jars is my favourite.
    There's also a silicone mat which can be placed on a tray or a table to stop mugs or plates from shifting.

    If your mum is anything like me, she'll want to do everything herself and not have to ask for help too often.
    My mum was even worse at this than I am.
    We Scots have a word for this - thrawn, which is several degrees beyond stubborn.
    We used to tell her that things which made her life easier would save her the energy to do more pleasureable things.
  • Airwave!Airwave! Posts: 2,427 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Its about movement as well as tools, careful use of my wrists when I'm making bread rather than washing and putting away dough hooks and machine means less weight and twisting movements. I certainly try to do less housework and have more tools in the shed. The car gets a £3 special at the auto wash. I don't dig the garden but stagger along behind the mower, it goes on...... we all need to find a way to cope.
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    BettyMac wrote:
    We Scots have a word for this - thrawn, which is several degrees beyond stubborn.

    Oh what a cracking word :D We moved to the Borders about 18 months ago and I'm loving learning new words. Some of the (Scottish) ladies I play scrabble with have proved enlightening on that front. It started with 'quines and loons' (girls and boys to anyone who is mystified as I was at first) and I just carried on from there. Back in Yorkshire, as a child, I read our weekly newspaper column entitled 'As Throng as Throp's Wife'. 'Throng' meant busy. Quite different from thrawn though with possibilities for embodying both :D

    user3832 - I apologise for hijacking your thread but that was just too interesting to pass.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • BettyMacBettyMac Posts: 164
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Apologies from me too for thread hijack - but I'm also enamoured of dialect words from all parts of the country. They give depth of colour and interest to our language.
    I'm a quinie, stickywicket. Aberdonians add "ie" onto the end of just about everything.
  • Airwave!Airwave! Posts: 2,427 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Aberdonians add "ie" onto the end of just about everything.

    Except the word Aberdonian, eh?
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