Cooking a full meal can
be an exhausting task for many of us, but it doesnt have to be. With
careful planning and preparation cooking can actually be an enjoyable
The first step to easy
cooking is to make your kitchen arthritis-friendly. Im not talking about
a complete remodeling to make it totally accessible. That would be
wonderful, but not a realistic option for most of us. Your budget will
determine just how fancy you can get. Even if the budget is limited there
are a number of inexpensive solutions to common problems.
A roll of Rubbermaid
shelf liner, the kind that is made out of that rubbery mesh stuff, is
invaluable in the kitchen. Use it under mixing bowls to hold them in place.
Wrap it around utensil handles and secure with a rubber band. The tacky,
rubber surface makes them much easier to grip. Use it to help grasp jar lids
for easier opening. The list is endless. Grab a roll for a couple of bucks;
it is well worth the investment.
Another great kitchen
tool is an adjustable height office chair with wheels, maybe just like the
one you are sitting in now. You can raise the height to a comfortable level
and sit it in while cooking and preparing meals. The wheels make it easy to
scoot from the counter to the stove to the fridge. You can even sit in it
while mopping and sweeping the floor.
This one is totally free,
logistics. Think about what items you use most. Put those items in the
easiest to reach places. Organize so you can grab one thing without the
entire cupboard contents tumbling out. Recognizing new and better places to
put things will help facilitate easy living. For example, if it’s difficult
to bend to the floor, try hanging the garbage bag from a hook in your broom
closet. Keep frequently used utensils or even dishes in lower cabinets so
you can reach them easily.
utensils are available. Many are not marketed as arthritis-friendly so you
need to do some investigating. Look for utensils with big, cushy, and easy
to grip handles. Under counter mounted jar openers make it possible to open
a jar with very little stress on the joints. Some can openers have shelves
to hold the can. A utility cart on wheels is great for putting dishes away,
unload the dishwasher onto the cart it and push it from cupboard to
cupboard. Oven rack pullers are notched paddles that allow you to slide the
oven rack out without putting your hand in the oven. The list is endless,
look through catalogs, surf the web, and youll be amazed at the amount of
products out there.
Appliances are probably
the most expensive items that we need to consider changing. As your present
appliances wear out, replace them with arthritis-friendly versions. When the
stove lights its last fire, consider getting one with the oven on top.
Bending over to use the oven can be very difficult for those with back or
knee problems. And of course make sure it is self-cleaning! A side-by-side
refrigerator/freezer is easier to use for most of us and the newer models
have slide out shelves so there is less reaching required.
Replacing the sink is
probably not something any of us want to consider, but think about how much
time you spend at the kitchen sink. Removing the cupboard below the sink
gives knee room so you can sit in a chair or use a stool when working at the
sink. It’s also helpful to replace the faucet with a single-lever handle for
easier, one-handed control. Some faucets are no-touch faucets that have
sensors to sense hands below them, then water flows for a programmed amount
of time you specify. A spray nozzle reaches far to rinse off dishes or clean
fruits and vegetables. If you can replace your sink, buy a shallow one that
slopes in front for easy access. Often, a sink can be repositioned a little
higher or lower, eliminating the need to replace it.
As you can see making your kitchen a little more accessible doesnt
have to be a major remodeling job. Use some common sense and a little
creativity and youll be on your way to easier cooking.