Tips & Hints

  1. If you are going to have surgery or use the weekly boxes to put your meds in & someone else will be giving you your meds don’t take the last pill out of the rx bottle. Your helper may not know what each pill looks like & you may not remember because of really good pain pills. 🙂 Make a list of ALL meds you take including vitamins & herbs & OTC to take your Doc & to the hospital with you. Have you ever been to the ER & can’t even remember address & phone? Mail order pharmacies are a fact of life because you maybe forced by your insurance to use them. Get to know a local pharmacy, & get you Doc to write or call in a 2 or 3 week supply of your meds. Mail orders can run late. If it is a long holiday weekend & the pharmacy has not filled any meds for you since 1999 & you tossed away your rx bottle & all you know is that it is a blue pill you take in the morning & your Doc is not on call it can days before you have your meds. If there are no small children in the home ask for easy open lids on rx bottles. Dogs can get into any rx bottle so becareful where you put them. When you have rx meds over a year old toss them. Check your otc stuff. We just had to put my MIL into a nursing home, she had stuff years out of date.

    Ask for 2 bottles if you send any meds to school with you children. Cough syrup etc they will not remember to bring it home with them & they can’t give meds at school without and rx bottle.

Submitted by: Belinda

I have found that if you buy the squeeze mayo or jelly it is easier than trying to fight with the lids.

Submitted by: Dawn I found some foundation makeup in a pump bottle. It is easier for me because I have trouble opening lids.

Submitted by: Dawn If you use the zipper zip lock back it is easier to open and close than using the other zip lock bags.

Submitted by: Dawn Hi, I know this is a no brainer…but instead of carrying a purse with sore fingers…or worse yet dangling one over a sore shoulder…but a back pak purse at Walmart for under 11.00 and look real cool to your granddaughters…I did this last year and my teen grands think its great…just the ticket too for traveling…you can still fill both arms with stuff while the purse rides on the back. You can also shop alittle longer before fatique sets in…we all need that…

Submitted by: Pat Z. My tip is for those who are buying (building) a new home or having a professional renovation of their present home. When we bought our home, I sat down with the builder and went through the entire plans with him, asking him for help in alleviating my arthritis/dwarfism problems. They were VERY accomodating in lowering light switches, shower controls, closet accessories, handrails and many other items. They even designed the kitchen island to allow for a part to be made lower for my use (my wife & kids are “normal” height). The design was ingenious. The builder appreciated my input and said he would be more aware of these things when designing new homes in the future!

Although it takes a great deal of time and thought, the payoff is well worth the investment. I couldn’t be happier with the changes, and it makes my arthritis/dwarfism MUCH easier to handle.

Submitted by: Ron Pagano Keep an emergency kit in your car. In it have a warm blanket. A wool blanket from the Army/Navy store is perfect. A flashlight – with fresh spare batteries and a replacement bulb. A hand held CB radio and fresh batteries for it OR a cell phone. a couple cans of “canned heat”, wooden matches in a waterproof container. Also have a piece of emery board taped to the outside to strike the matches on. An easy to open pocket knife or a small hunting knife in a sheath. a roll of duct tape, a couple of wire coat hangers which have been untwisted and opened out. a pair of needle nose pliers or wire cutters, a first aid kit, a bottle of drinking water, food (easy to open snacks and munchies so you can take medications that can’t be taken on an empty stomach), a folding shovel, a bag of cheap cat litter or coarse sand, an approved gasoline can – empty, a small cooler for the snacks, water and first aide kit.) Will prevent freezing in cold climates and keep things cool in warm climates). Obviously, this hint is for people who live in cold parts of the country and drive in snow.

Submitted by: Diane2 Keep laundry baskets in the trunk of your car. When shopping, put your packages in the baskets, They will not spill out and when you get home you can carry the basket to the house, which means less steps to get everything unloaded, or have a belt attached to one end of the baskets and drag them behind you if carrying is a problem. Just remember to return the baskets to the trunk before you shop again.

Submitted by: Diane2 I don’t know if you have these in America – but I expect you do – sleeves that you leave in the freezer – then pop onto a bottle of wine for quick cooling. When your hands and wrists are swollen and painful ….. instead of using ice-cubes – or frozen peas etc. Put on a sports sock (protect against freezing) then a frozen ‘bottle sleeve’ – they are lightweight and can easily be moved to cover the affected area – back and front at the same time. You can get them for bottles of Champagne – these might do for ankles but I haven’t triaed them myself. My physio and Occupational therapist are telling other arthritis ‘sufferers’ – hope this helps someone. Cheap and re-usable!!

Submitted by: Maggie (UK) When you can’t pull up the zipper in your jeans, use a latch-hook (gadget used to hook rugs). Then use pliers on the snap.
Submitted by: nanasu Can’t reach under the sink to clean? Line the bottom with plastic placemats.When they get dirty,just pick them up and wash them.Also the small square or rectangle plastic storage baskets[the kind you find in the dollar store] are great for putting your “under the sinks items” in. That way the cans don’t get pushed to the back where you can’t reach them.You can even put a piece of rope on the basket,then if it gets pushed back to far,just grab the cord and pull.Everything you need is within reach.

Submitted by: Freda Those “baskets” are also useful for storing all you medicine bottles.

Submitted by: Freda A large square type emeryboard sold in beauty supply stores,are a lot easier to hold when doing your nails.

Submitted by: Freda Don’t like to do exerises – do them when your watching tv, you’re finished in no time…

Submitted by: Freda Use a walker? No need to buy a expensive carryall,just tie a basket on with a pretty ribbon and your all set.Dusters with pockets help too. Or get out some of those old aprons no one uses anymore. [who wants to be in the kitchen long enough to use it.]

Submitted by: Freda Using a heavy glass for beverages is hard on my hands. I use hard plastic glasses which are much easier to handle, just like a little kid.

Submitted by: Linda (aka Heidi) When you can’t pull up the zipper in your jeans, use a latch-hook (gadget used to hook rugs). Then use pliers on the snap.

Submitted by: nanasu I was having a difficult time handling small buttons on my clothing ect… a friend of mine suggested that I replace them with Velcro, so I had a friend of mine do all the hard work, we simply sewed the buttons on the outside (showing part) of the item and applied the Velcro to the inside areas, .By sewing the buttons on the outside area where the button holes are .it looks as though the item is actually bottomed….. the Velcro is so easy to handle… It has been my little miracle in many ways…..

Submitted by: Susan aka smallfry We all Hate to iron, correct???
Ok! thought so and we all have seen those New products that you just spray and smooth out the wrinkles,? well they really work and save me tons of time and is much easier on my hands, You can also use, Fabric freshers such as Fabreeze or store name brands, They all work the same, just mist over clothing and give it a tub here and there, and smooth it out…Hint… it is easier to apply while the item is hanging….

Submitted by: Susan aka smallfry I have found that on handle bar grippers can be useful around the house. I have placed one on the handle of my vacuum and one on my broom ,mop etc. it makes it better for me to be able to keep a grip. I used to get so frustrated when I was sweeping and loose grip, then only making me bend over ect. causing more pain and frustration. now I seem to be able to get a grip on lifes little things..

Submitted by: Susan aka smallfry While school shopping for the kids I recently purchased a medium clear backpack, I am now using this verses carrying my purse, I throw it over my back or over my shoulder, (easier to handle) and it is very easy for me to get in and out of and I spend less time thumbing though objects, because of it being clear I can see where things are before i begin digging., and it is also big enough to roll up a magazine or newspaper in, for those long awaits at the doctors office etc

Submitted by: Susan aka smallfry Pump Hair spray bottles my be difficult to handle, especially when your fingers hurt…I have found that I water bottle with a trigger handle is easier to spray and even provides a better mist..

Submitted by: Susan aka smallfry My doctor often instructs me to wrap my painfully swollen finger joints with Coban. However, she advised me to check the pet store and buy the product VetWrap instead. Not only is it cheaper than the “human” variety, but it comes in lots of colors. If you’re going to have to wear a bandage, you might as well wear one that is pretty! Additionally, someone is not as likely to grab and shake your aching hand when it’s wrapped in hot pink VetWrap!

Submitted by: Joan When my joints are really sore I have a cheap way to make them feel better. Take a hand towel and put it under hot water…ring it out a bit and put it in a long plastic bag…tie it so no water drips out. There u just made yourself a heat wrap.

Submitted by: Chana I just wanted to share an idea of mine. At work, our department has a bullitan board, as well as a dry erase section. I have taken over the bullitan board and there have been no complaints. Actuallly I have received alot of positive feed back.

On this bullitan board I have several items that help me make it through work. I have the complete transcript from your site entitled, RA more than joints, I have several comic strips, (One being Ziggy that is talking to his doctor, and states”I think my body had a Y2K crisis”, ) and I write on the board daily. I have listed all my side effects from medication. I have listed all my “diagnosis”, I have listed my positive thoughts, (such as:I have a wonderful sense of humor, and I am not going to vomit!”) .

I have also written an interpretation of my responses to “How are you today?”. I now have positive feedback from my coworkers. One even brought me a copy of a letter to Ann Landers about the do’s and don’ts of responding to an arthritis victim. It too hangs on the board. Several people from all shifts now visit our department daily to see what is new on the board. It has helped them become aware, as well as gain understanding to what exactly it is I am dealing with.

I can’t even tell you how much this has helped me get through my working hours when the days are bad. I just focus on my board and it helps. Each day I try to write a positive note along with something I think everyone might find humorous. It really has helped me, and my coworkers are even enjoying checking the board. Yet another tool against the war. Besides this method makes them aware without force, it is up to them if they want to explore. So far, most can’t wait till I come in and change the board to see what’s next. Perhaps your readers might want to try this approach at work. Maybe it will help them too.

Submitted by: Laura Take notice of and appreciate the good days.
Call your doctor’s office if you ever experience new pain or have a question-even if you think they won’t be able to help. Chances are they will.

Submitted by: Genevieve I’ve found it very helpful to carry with me a small set of nail clippers with the attached nail file – I can’t use it for my fingernails anymore, but instead keep it handy to pop-up and push-in the tabs on soda and juice cans, or anything else that has a pop-top. It’s also good for peeling up the edge of a food box or anything else that says “Peel Here” but you can’t bend your fingers enough to get a good grip. Just remember to always use something kind of dull, like a finger nail file, a letter opener, or a butter knife so that you won’t knick those stubborn fingers that won’t get out of the way in time 🙂

Submitted by: Amanda I have found the new facial cleansing cloths helpful. ( There are several brands, such as Olay and Biore). In the evening, one cloth takes off makeup, cleanses and tones skin, all in one step. I find this much easier on my hands.

Submitted by: Irene For driving, I use weight lifting gloves. The palm is padded, and so are half the fingers. The padding cushions sore and swollen hands.They are thin, lightweight and make driving much more comfortable. I have found the Nike brand to be the best, but Walmart stocks a number of other brands.

Submitted by: Irene Instead of carrying extra stuff in a tote bag, I always use a small backpack. I find the backpack much easier on sore hands.
Submitted by: Irene Listen carefully and take notes when at the Drs. Also go prepared with a detailed list of concerns.
Submitted by: Hazel

Never be afraid to ask for help,so you can save your energy for the fun rthings in life.

Submitted by: grannyjan Hot showers for instant relief, heating pads help but the hot warmth from the moist water seems to get me through tough unbearable times.

Submitted by: Kathy Well the thing I need to learn: Pace yourself, don’t go all out so you have to crash and burn. Maybe someday, I will really listen to that!

Submitted by: kaekae never give up! there is always a way to do something use your imagination, and most of all keep trying!

Submitted by: Carla Learn to say NO. We are all bombarded with oppertunities to help out with the church bazaar, an event at the children’s school, or the activities of social or service groups we belong to. We also hate to refuse when asked to help. Remember that when you overdo you and your family will be the ones to pay the price.

Submitted by: Diane2 I give one day a week to self pity, and negative behavior only. It is on the schedule, and no other day is it allowed. The rest of the days are for being positive in every way possible. On the worst of days, I do my best to find someone else who needs my help, my guidance and my positive reinforcemnt. I have my own equation for the word heal now. It is H.E.A.L. equals help educate and administer love. It works for me. Since I have several friends dealing with disease from breast cancer to interstitial cystitus, it has become easier for me to deal with their pain, and difficulties, to be there for them when they need, and this truthfully has helped my own progress with R.A.tremendously. You have taught me that as well!I have also noticed, there are a lot of planned self pity days that fly by now without being used! Progress!!

Submitted by: Laura Never give up.

Submitted by: Emmylou During the day, take a lot of 10 minute breaks. Especially on the bad days. Just find a seat somewhere and stay in it for 10 minutes, you’ll feel better.

Submitted by: Carol Take one day at a time and thank god for your kids because they help me out the most next to my husband.

Submitted by: Ann Learn to laugh at the gimp things you do !!!

Submitted by: Amanda My first visit to my rheumy, he told me to get a shower chair & put it in the shower & let the hot water run on my neck.

Submitted by: Tracie Hot tub!

Submitted by: Phyllis If your like me and like to buy things that are on sale, for instance chicken, that has the skin but you wish to remove the skin, then here is an easy way to do it. Use a paper towel, (the better quality the towel the better this works) to pull the skin free from the meat. Hold the skin with the paper towel and it makes removing the skin much easier.

Submitted by: Darlene


One tip that I discovered while cooking, if you soak your potatoes in really warm water for a short time makes them SO much easier to peel.

Submitted by: Susan B. aka Kumus I found that a simple gardening glove with the little rubber grippers in the palms are a great tool in the kitchen, I use them to open jars ad bottles and also to hold the handle of a pot while i am stirring…

Submitted by: Susan aka smallfry

I bought non slip mats out of Woolworth’s I have them on my work bench in the kitchen so pots and pans don’t glide away from me also great on the dining room table for the diner plates great for sore hands and wrists no more chasing the plates when they move.

Submitted by: Joan Here’s another tip, a bit far out, but it sure works for me. It’s amazing how gimps can improvise to get a job done! “I recently had the need to trim my fingernails and found that I absolutely could not squeeze the nail trimmers. I have a beagle and for some strange reason, his nail cutters came to mind. I got them out and had great success! Had to trim a little at a time (going across the nail), but they were easy to use and did a great job!”
Now how’s that for a strange tip?!

Submitted by: Linda My husband (and I) are in the process of redesigning our kitchen (though we won’t start the project until late next year). We have found some WONDERFUL new cabinets that are very arthritis friendly. Shelves that pull forward or flip to make reaching easier. The one I really like and can’t wait to get…a dishwasher cabinet that is waist high. NO MORE BENDING to unload the dishwasher!!! We are also planning on putting the dryer on a platform to raise it higher, so I won’t have to bend there either.

Submitted by: Wendy

I have a Good Grips, Rolling Herb Mincer that is wonderful when you need to mince herbs. It has a large handle and you just roll it over your herbs a couple of times and the herbs are minced. I found mine at a hardware store, but I am sure you could find them at any place that sells kitchen wares.

Submitted by: Donna
This is one of my favorites…To make getting just one coffee filter easier, take a section of filters and turn them inside out. This really works!

Submitted by: Sherry
Another easy way with coffee filters…make a roll of masking tape and place it in the cupboard alongside the filters. Use it to pick up one and replace it next to the filters.

Submitted by: Dale I have found the best wine bottle opener. It is made by Tupperware. There is a “cap” that fits down over the neck and as you twist the screw part the cork comes up on the metal screw. No pulling or tugging a cork that otherwise could break off. I love mine. Also bought it on the web. Hope this helps someone else.

Submitted by: Donna Perhaps you’ve already recommended or covered these two items, but they are so important in my kitchen that I had to tell you about them.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure they even have names! One is used for unscrewing any size lid – it works great on liter bottles of soda. By placing the tool on the lid, you have the torque that you need to twist it off – without pain.

The second one resembles an old-fashioned soda opener, only it is more heavy duty. By attaching the tool and lifting up, you release the pressure inside the jar. The lid then twists off with no effort at all.

I use both of these gizmos every day – would not be without them.
Submitted by: Linda Peck

Drink out of a glass that is a mug with a large enough handle to put your
whole hand through.
Submitted by: Belinda

I’m tall and my back would hurt terribly when I washed dishes in the sink. So bought a dishpan and I use it on top of counter. This gives me a sink for rinsing and one for the drainer. Back hurts but I can last longer. Also I wash them once a day.

Submitted by: Pat

Make sure you buy frying pans with long, sturdy handles so that you can use
your whole forearm to support the it. Instead of trying to hold the pan
handle with your wrist, grab the it from underneath (palm up) and let the
handle sit on your forearm. You will be surprised at how much more you can
lift, and with much less effort. Don’t forget to use a potholder! The handle
may be hotter as you will be putting your hand close to the pan itself.

Submitted by: KM2

At the Office

I work in an office situation and found that if you use an automatic stapler it is easier than trying to squeeze the real stapler.
Submitted by: Dawn If you can’t afford one of those Dr. Grip pens, than you can get foam insulation to put around a pen or pencil to make it easier to hold. This also works well on toothbrushes.

Submitted by: Dawn If you work in an office where your computer is situated on a work station, get your company to invest in a keyboard tray for you. The one my company purchased for me swings out from under the top of my workstation, and has a little swing-out on the side for the mouse. It is adjustable up and down, and has been a life-saver on my hands. I can adjust the level of my keyboard to suit the way my hands feel on each particular day.

Submitted by: Joan My fingers are too stiff and swollen to use the regular squeeze-type staple removers. I found one made by Swingline that has a long handle with a tip that slides under the staple and allows you to lift it out. It is also magnetized so the staple doesn’t go flying across the room.

Submitted by: Joan If you do a lot of writing, invest in those “chubby” pens and lead pencils. My favorites are made by Pilot (Dr. Grip) and Sanford (PhD). There is also now a variety of pens that have a cushioned rubber grip, such as the Zebra Jimnie Gel Rollerball.

Submitted by: Joan

If you work in a busy office atmosphere, invest in a small water fountain. Mine is a simple glazed ceramic bowl, filled with smooth river rocks. The water bubbles up among the rocks to create the sound of a babbling brook. It is amazing how relaxing listening to this can be! I have found that my level of pain is often directly affected by my stress level, so every little bit helps!

Submitted by: Joan

Found an easy way of doing an everyday task? Well c’mon! Don’t be greedy, let us all in on the secret! Click here to send us your tip.