Archive for July, 2013

3 ways to protect the arthritic hand while at home

Monday, July 8th, 2013 by admin

When was the last time you heard of a senior complaining about pain in their shoulders, elbows and/ or hands. I hear it on a regular basis with clients in the nursing home.  At least in the nursing home, residents have access to rehabilitation services readily available to take care of these ailments.  What about elders in the community that do not have easy access to these services. That is why I thought about sharing some ideas that would help elders in the community who are suffering from arthritis live better and more productive lives.

Modify the environment

Nowadays, there is no excuse for not having lever type door handles around the house and/ or apartment. Lever door handles are just an example of a growing number of items that can make navigating home much easier. It is also a good idea to start changing door knobs on all cabinetry for stylish door handles. You can also change faucets with knobs to faucets with handles or motion activated faucets. Another good alternative to decrease stress on the joints is to switch items with regular sized keypads such as remote controls and telephones with enlarged keypads. These are just a few of the many ways the environment can be modified to reduce joint stress and promote joint stability.

Modify the way you do things

Wringing a towel or mop towards your pinky finger, carrying heavy shopping bags with your hands, carrying a heavy cooking pot by the handles. These are all examples of everyday activities performed by seniors in the community that can exacerbate joint degeneration. Therefore, seniors need to look for ways to modify these activities without limiting their independence. As a general rule every time a manual activity is going to be performed, it is recommended that the person use larger muscle groups such as those in your shoulders and arms rather than your smaller and weaker muscles like those in your forearms and hands. For instance, when going grocery shopping seniors should push a shopping cart that way there is minimum joint stress. If the senior does not own a shopping cart an alternative could be to carry large brown bags which can be carried between the arm and the hip.

Respect pain

Oh, the good old saying “no pain, no gain” definitely does not apply in this case. If there is one thing people suffering with arthritis should learn is to try to keep pain as far away as possible. Therefore, it is important to respect pain and avoid any activity or action that would start it. Seniors who understand their limitations and manage their level of activity will usually protect their joints better and limit the amount of pain they feel. Whereas, those that generally decide to work through the pain end up causing more joint degeneration which in term increases their pain levels.

Consult with an Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) or occupational therapist if you would like to make your loved one or family member safer and more comfortable in their home during their golden years.


Miller Calberto, MS, OTR/L, CAPS

Senior Partner

Adapting Spaces, LLC