Being Proactive About Mobility Issues Stemming from Arthritis

When people discuss arthritis, they usually focus on the pain and other visual symptoms like swollen joints, and often treat the mobility limitations that accompany this dreadful affliction as an afterthought. And while the pain and discomfort of arthritis cannot be minimised, the fact is with many people suffering from arthritis the increasing mobility problems are the larger issue. Pain can be withstood and treated, but as the disease progresses their very ability to live independently becomes more and more difficult.

The idea of being unable to move about the local area – or even their own home – without assistance is, naturally, a frightening one. No one wants to think of themselves as a burden or an invalid, especially at the relatively young age many people find their arthritis symptoms ramping up. The light at the end of the tunnel is the wide range of proactive steps that can be taken to improve mobility, ranging from simple organisational tips to products designed specifically for the arthritis sufferer experiencing reduced mobility issues.

Organisational Steps

The simple fact of the matter is that arthritis makes the simplest things increasingly challenging as it progresses, including walking and the everyday activities of life around the home. Beyond following their doctor’s advice and pursuing physical therapy actively, there are a few simple steps that can assist people with their mobility issues:

  • Remove Rugs. Rugs are often overlooked, but when an arthritic person has limited hip and knee joint mobility, rugs are often a common cause of tripping accidents in the home, right below steps in terms of danger. Removing any rugs that aren’t held firmly in place by heavy furniture is a proactive step in making getting around the house easier and safer.
  • Organise Your Bathroom and Kitchen. Part of easing mobility issues is accepting your new limitations. Re-organising your bathroom and kitchen so that everything is at eye-level and easily reached is essential. The upper shelves can be used for rarely-needed items or other long-term storage or simply left empty. Invest in rotating storage shelves that can sit on counters and allow easy access to spices or other items you need every day.
  • Remove Doors and Add Shelves. If you have trouble gripping things like handles, think about removing the doors on your cabinets and adding shelving wherever appropriate. Being able to simply reach in and grasp items as opposed to having to struggle with handles and drawers can help compensate for reduced agility.

Equipment

Once you have re-organised and re-arranged the home to be more accessible, there may be some simple pieces of equipment that can make quite a difference. If living in a multi-story home, it might be worth it to consider a move to a one-story home to eliminate stairs from your life. If that’s not practical, the addition of a stair lift might give you easy access to your upper levels again. Switching your bedroom to the lower level may also be a solution, especially if there is a bathroom on the main floor.

Smaller items can make big differences, too. A “reacher” or “grasper” is a simply device with a clamp on the end of a stick, and a trigger built into the grip. It allows you to reach and grasp things on high shelves with some degree of accuracy, and is very affordable. When getting up on a stepladder becomes a dangerous adventure, this can be a godsend.

In the end, you can adjust your environment and surroundings to deal with decreased mobility, and remain independent longer – something that is always worth the investment.

This advice comes from the team at Mobility Solutions, Scotland’s largest mobility store. They offer the latest in disability aids and vehicles and are regularly writing to raise awareness of ways to manage mobility issues.

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