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Articles > Is RA making daily tasks painful? Take a shortcut!

Is RA making daily tasks painful? Take a shortcut!

During a flare-up, dealing with household chores can be tough and even exhausting. But don_t give in_get inventive! Take inspiration from these smart solutions for everyday obstacles, all devised by folks living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Beth Shapouri

Provided by HealthMonitor

Opening doors, turning on lights
Smart shortcut
Put the controls at your Fingertips

'I have gadgets that do things for me," says Kelly Rouba from Hamilton, NJ. "I have an automatic garage door that I control by a remote, and an automatic garbage can that opens and closes when it senses me. I can control my lights, thermostat, doors'all from a touchpad, keychain or my computer!'

Tip: Buy "The Clapper" sound-activated device'it makes turning appliances on and off a breeze.

Whipping up a meal
Smart shortcut
Roll and hang

'In the kitchen is where I get most creative," says Laura Mokelke of Milwaukee. "To get around at the stove or the dishwasher I'll use my husband's desk chair on wheels to roll through the kitchen'it's higher up so I can reach things and not have to worry about standing for so long." Keeping things within easy grasp helps, too, Laura says. "I also have designed our kitchen so that the utensils are hanging on a rack'that way, I don't have to try to open up cabinets or drawers when my hands are sore." Look for utensil racks at any kitchen store.

Scrubbing the shower
Smart shortcut
Let a broom do the work

'I almost fell inside the shower while scrubbing the tiles with a small brush, so I decided I wouldn't do that chore anymore," laughs Susan Violante of Austin, TX. "Then one weekend I was hosing down my patio so I could brush it clean with a broom'and realized I could do the same in the shower without having to bend over or even get into it!" Now she keeps a clean broom on hand, mists on some bathroom cleaner and uses the bristles at the end to get off shower soap scum. And remember to spray the cleanser and let it sit a few minutes to loosen up the grime before scrubbing.

Getting dressed in a hurry
Smart shortcut
Let someone'or something'else do the work
George Austin of Trumbull, CT, admits that when it comes to getting dressed, teamwork is sometimes necessary. "Thank goodness I have a good wife'she's been known to tie a tie for me!" But there's a specific part of getting ready in the morning that can really slow George down: Getting on those shoes! "I have slip-ons for days when I'm not feeling as great, but they can still be tricky to get on. So I keep an extra-long shoehorn; you can find them at medical supply stores. They're so long that you can use them without having to bend over at all." No medical supply store in your area? Try your local drugstore.

Gripping the kitchen knife
Smart shortcut
Make this smart swap
'I'll use a pizza cutter to cut things such as sandwiches and other soft food items; it's easier to hold and easier to move," says Kelly Tuckwiller of Lewisburg, WV. But more important: "This also cuts down on chances to cut yourself. Not being able to get a good grip on the knife when your hands are stiff can be dangerous!"
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