Housing Adaptations And RA
This post goes room-by-room and hopefully provides useful tips on how to make your living space more RA-friendly.
Kitchen/ Dining Room
If you have problems with mobility, you may want to adapt your kitchen so that you don’t have to bend down or reach above your head a lot. This may mean taking up some of your counter space with the items and tools that you use the most.
The Arthritis Foundation Ease Of Use provides a list of products that have been deemed RA-friendly. OXO Good Grip is also known for their arthritis-friendly kitchen tools, so if you can afford to spend a little bit more on kitchen tools, OXO is a good bet.
In general, though, kitchen tools that have grips and aren’t too heavy, can be helpful, regardless of the brand. You may also want to invest in eating utensils that you are able to grip and hold comfortably, without pain.
Another thing to think about is having a stash of plastic containers so that you can make meals ahead of time and freeze, so that on days you aren’t feeling well enough to cook, all you have to do is take frozen meals out of the freezer and heat them up, either in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave.
Also, stock your freezer with ice packs that you can easily pull out and use if they help you with pain.
If you have space where you are living for a dining table or dining room, make sure that you have a comfortable chair or a cushion that you can sit on, and that the table is at the right height for you.
In your living room, it’s important to have furniture that is comfortable and is at the correct height so that you can sit down easily. You might want to invest in an oversized chair, or a couch or a futon that is big enough for you to lie down on. You might end up spending a lot more time on the couch than you might expect.
If you have the space for a desk or an office, you are going to want to make sure that, that space is as ergonomic as possible. In order words, make sure you have a comfortable chair, and that both the desk and the chair are set to a height that is comfortable for you.
If you use the computer a lot, like me, make sure that you have a keyboard and mouse pad that are cushioned, and situated in a way that doesn’t put undue hardship on your hands and wrists. Or have a laptop that is light and easy to pickup and transport.
In terms of your bedroom, make sure that you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure that your bed is not too high or two low, and that you are able to get in and out of it easily.
If you end up spending a lot of time in your bedroom, it might raise your spirits to have colorful and fun bedding, and cute pajamas that make you feel good.
If your bedroom gets a lot of sun, blackout shades might be really helpful in blocking out light, both if you are napping during the day, and so you can make sure you get a full night sleep.
If you have issues with bending down and standing up, you might want to get a toilet seat that’s height is adjustable. You may also need to place bars or a seat in your bathtub or shower in order to make sure that you don’t slip and fall. You can also get grips for the bottom of your tub or shower.
If you have further issues, you may want to invest in a bath and shower system that you can simply walk in and out of, and do not need to get down or up to get in and out of.
As a side note, many medications say that they should not be exposed to light, heat, or water, so I would suggest that you get some sort of medication organizer, and that you keep it, along with your prescription bottles, either in your kitchen or bedroom. Also make sure that you are keeping them in a location that makes it easy for you to remember to take them.
More from the Community: Tips on Managing Chores & Errands with RA