What gadgets could you not do without?

All I have at the moment is my walking stick and a RADAR key for disabled toilets. Oh and I have to have cushions for my back but they are just standard ones. I need lots of stuff. I've had RA since I was a toddler but refused to use any aids or adaptions. At 35 I give in I'll try everything possible. What does everyone else use?

51 Replies

  • Hi there I've had RA and oa since 2014 and now use a stick not always but most of the time,I had a home visit from o therapy and theve given me some great AIDS such as grabber,long shoe horn,sock aid,long sponge aid for shower, they put up grab rails in various places, banisters on stairs and they are adapting shower room for me, very useful AIDS which make life that bit easier

  • I have crutches, wheelchair, splints ( different ones for resting, thumb or wrist!) rubber cap type things for opening jars. A saw thing for cutting bread, a sock putter on thing. Padded knifes and forks!!

    But my best thing is my fleecy heated over blanket, wouldn't swap that for the world as heat really help my joints apart from when it's costochondritis then it's ice packs!!

    I tried a tipping kettle but spilled more with it ! so gave that up as a bad day .

    Best Ye heated blankie, love it!

  • My electric blanket - I have a heated over blanket which I can lay on or under when pain relief is failing me. It's my saviour! The other two gadgets I use when this get tough is my lakeland tin opener which has a long handle and easy grip knob - even on bad days I can grip that. The last one is a book stand - when I'm really struggling, Reading is a lifeline but holding a book can kill my hands and wrists. The book stand is really effective at holding it at the right height and is relatively easy to turn the page - cheap but awesome!

  • Hi where did you get the book stand from please?

  • The one I have is a readezy and I got it from Amazon but I notice they don't have any at the moment. A quick Google and I found several shops selling them online and there's actually a decent one on eBay at the moment second hand. I find it grips the books well but still makes it easy to turn the pages which isn't true of a lot of stands. Good luck!

  • Support glove with no fingers.Heated shawl which your able to take on holiday.Scooters they are vital for me to get out and about. I have two one that goes in the car and another for when i get out on my own and couldn't go out without them.xxxxx

  • My automatic car is a God send and the blue badge I try to manage without my mobility scooters as I get rude remarks from people saying I don't need it down side of. a illnesses that people don't understand

  • Hate the fact we look ok to general public, makes me feel like a fake, and guilty at times, x

  • One Thing I really appreciate, I didn't realise till I pointed it out to a friend how valuable it is! It's a hot water dispenser, hubby fills it up with cold water in the morning, press the button for hot water for a cuppa, no filling or need to pick up a hot kettle.

  • Where did u get that please?

  • This is what I boughthttps://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bosch+water+dispenser&oq=bosch+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j35i39j0j5j69i61l2.3105j1j4&client=ms-android-sonymobile&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#pie=plaji-i

  • Thanks for taking the time to reply xxxx

  • Walk in shower, booster seat for loo, tower mixer taps which looks good

  • And riser chair

  • Hi I only use a stick at present and blue badge as I have been waiting for 6 months for home visit from OT but am going to look out now for the things mentioned especially a sock grabber, tin opener and a radar key, did you get this from council? Xxx

  • Sock grabber from it , radar key from any shop mobility

  • Thank you, hope you are still improving x

  • No!hand not healing , thumb in wrong place, back Friday to doc . Also got awful tummy and back pain 😞

  • So sorry to hear this after what you have been through. I hope it won't mean another op. Xxx

  • Very worried x

  • I got my Radar key from my local council offices Lainee. I just asked for one at reception & I was asked basic details of my disability (I just said I get PIP & have a Blue Badge) & they gave me one, free of charge.

  • Thanks nmh I will try this x

  • Oh yes I forgot the most important my riser chair I don't know what I would do without it x

  • If you make an appointment, through your rheumatology consultant, to see an OT they will supply you with lots of helpful gadgets or tell you where you can get certain aids.

  • I also use a jar key from Lakeland that helps to open jars by releasing the pressure. Learnt about that at the pain management programme I went to and it is fab.

  • Small kettle with handle over the top (would love one of the hot water dispensers but live on my own now so don't know whether filling it would be too much)

    Also a "boa constrictor" a rubber strip which opens anything from bottle tops to large jars, electric tin opener which does it all by itself with one push of the button, a little tool which breaks the seal on jars, another little tool which pulls open ring pulls, a electric potato masher and an electric carving knife, a v shaped pillow and memory foam topper, electric pads like miniature electric blankets - I have 3 of them - and a magi mix with loads of attachments which mix, purée, slice, grate - very easy to use and attachments can go in the dishwasher. Oh and a button hook! I sound like an advert for Lakeland and Amazon!

    I've had OA since my 30s and a lot of these helped me to feed 3 hungry boys and their dad over the years and I've added to them since getting RA rather dramatically last year. The one thing you can't buy is my neighbour who put on my clean fitted sheets every week and pegged out my washing when I was at my worst last summer.

  • I have a boa constrictor bought for me & it's the least used gadget I have, can't work it properly, it's the way it needs to fit to jars or bottles needs too much grip it defeats the object for me.

    How lovely of your neighbour to help you out.

  • Hi I would really recommend getting a hot water dispenser it's so much easier than a kettle and as for filling it there's no need to lift it, just refill with a small light plastic jug. Sometimes it's just the simplest thing's that help! Linda

  • I am really struggling with my pans. My ex was a fan of 'quality' pans. Trouble is although they might be the best quality money can buy, my wrists don't like them. I will call ex, tell him he can come and pick up his pans and replace them with some cheap wrist friendly ones.

    I need a jar opener, bottle opener, erganomic knives, chopper. My partner has started making all the meals which is lovely but I would like to be able to cook for him sometimes.

    I have to laugh. As a child I absolutely refused any aids except hot and cold pads, my trike and special boots. I didn't want to be different. When I was a teenager my mum called an OT and I went nuts to find a house filled with tap turners and jar openers and grabber sticks. I would have rather been in agony than admitted I was struggling. My family actually liked some of the stuff but tough it had to go.

    But I am grown up now (apparently). So I am happy to fill my house with whatever might help.

  • Le Creuset do a set of pans with small closed handles on side opposite main handle

  • They're ever so heavy even empty though aren't they Witrm?

  • As they are stainless steel so not as heavy as the coloured Le Creuset and because of the two handles are better balanced.

  • Ah, so they're not the le Creuset of old which conjures up reminders of drop it & you've broken your toe?! Yes! Two handles are certainly better, we have them on our Dutch oven, I think more because of the size, it's heavy when full.

  • I can so understand about the pans. We invested in a set of 3 quite expensive pans & added, 2 different sized skillets, an omelette pan, a crepe pan & a Dutch oven just over 30 years ago & my h just after Christmas replaced them, same make but different handle. The reason being the new handles mean he can put any of them in the oven whereas he couldn't with our old ones. I want our old ones back! I may not be the one who cooks but at least I could do my bit & wash them, they had good thick grippy handles, the new ones are steel handles & the pans are no longer well balanced so I'm forever dropping them in the sink. He'll learn one day to let me try things before buying!!!

  • They are anodised pans. I didn't want them in the first place, so why I've still got them over a year after splitting up with him I don't know. I think I feel bad because they were expensive. But ex and I get on ok so I will text him and he can collect them if he wants them. And I will get some nice light ones instead. I mean it doesn't matter if they are the most amazing pans ever made if they are killing my hands does it?

  • Sorted! One quick phonecall and ex is happy to have the pans back. Now to do some research for their replacements.

  • Oh good! Happy searching!

  • I think we may be talking about the same makes, our are hard anodized aluminium? Ok let's not beat around the bush, they're Circulon! Our first ones were the original ones with a thick handle & steel lid bought when they were first released because we'd just built a new kitchen. We chose a halogen hob so needed to replace our other pans which we knew wouldn't work on it because they need a completely flat base otherwise the halogen light doesn't turn off. The new ones are from the Genesis range, heavier & with these stupid thin steel handles. Glass lids too, how daft is that for someone prone to dropping things but at least the handle is big enough!

  • I think when you have had problems for a long time you have already adapted many things without thinking about it. Ice packs and heat pads, compression gloves, not caring too much how tidy the house is, try before you buy (can I lift it/does it feel comfortable/how much pressure needed to work it). Farm

  • No not me. I've had RA my whole life and I am still kidding myself that I might grow out of it. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to admit I need anything. But something's changed recently I bought my stick and a shopping trolley. Sometimes I even remember to use my hand splints!

  • I've got three walking sticks, two electric scooters, a "Sock Aid" for on and off of, well socks obviously, I've got "grabbers" Bottle opening tools, electric can openers, a ring pull hook, about 3 long shoe horns.

    Possibly best of all is a dog that without any specific training, can pick up, even as small as a 5p coin, anything I drop, and give it back to me.

  • That's one very clever dog you have. I don't imagine my cat would be as helpful.

  • I learnt to use the boa constrictor years ago when my husband stole it to open rusty tins of oil, paint stripper and weed killer lurking in the shed. I was so impressed I practised and now use it without a thought. Probably helped that I learnt before I got too bad. On the other hand I can't hold on to any of the OXO kitchen gadgets - they're too big to hold - but I got 3 for Christmas!

    My neighbours are great but I live in a small island community and one family has had people suffering from RA over the generations so most people understand. I remember one "old " woman when I visited here as a child, who was carried from bed to chair in the morning and back at night. I realised recently that she was only in her 40s but had had no treatment.

    The drawback is it takes me 2 days to get to hospital but I go - happily!

  • I had a real Boa Constrictor! Never used it to open a jar though. ;o)

  • (I have ankylosing spondylitis, so have a lot of back problems, which might mean the aids I use aren't quite so relevant to you).

    Grab rails in the bathroom, a drop down rail by the toilet, and a vertical grab rail on the wall by where I get out of bed. A rail clamped to the side of my bed to help me turn over. A sharp cutting knife that has a right angled handle (much easier to grip). Electric can opener and a mini electric chopper for things like onions. Gadget for opening jars. Lever handles on all my taps. Wet room shower, and shower stool. I also now drive an automatic car. I also have a little trolley that OT gave me that is quite useful for moving things around the house.

  • My back is affected unfortunately and my pelvic area but it probably is in a different way to yours. I can have days even weeks where I get only mild pain from my back and then for no apparent reason whatsoever my back is so painful I worry it's about to collapse (as it has before). It's terrifying but then a couple of days later and my back seems not too bad again. Bizarre but that's RA. For me it's my knees, feet and hands that are always bad. I would imagine for you your back never gives you any peace? I know from when my spine collapsed how terrifying that was so I really feel for you.

    Or is that a strange thing for people with arthritis to say? ;)

    It's strange isn't it how there are so many types and they each have their special way of making life b***y hard work.

  • earthwitch you've made me curious. In all the time I've had arthritis I have only really known about my type. I am going to take the trouble to find out about your type and others. Otherwise how can I really appreciate how it feels for you?

    I had a quick look on Arthritis Research UK. So whereas RA inflammation erodes the joints, yours lays down calcium and grows extra bone, which fuses parts of the spine. Is that how it works?

    Wow it's actually quite different really from what I can see. Genetics seems to play a bigger role than RA and it's most likely to start in teens or 20's. And usually takes longer to diagnose. Which isn't good, it's longer without treatment.

    I am wanting to ask you loads of questions now, but I don't want to seem nosy. ;)

  • My new favorit is the car cane. It enables you to get in or out of vehicles on your own and has a light to guide you at night, I love it. I have a small car and a truck, both present challenges. It is a challenge when you are fear ly independent. Life sure has a lot twists and turns..I do believe we are masters of adapt and overcome. My learning curve will be learning to relax and admit I will on occasion require a little help..

  • Orthotics in my shoes - I literally can't walk without them. An electric blanket on my bed - I have woken up less often at night since I've had it. A 'back friend' to make normal chairs more supportive. Grab rail on my bath so I can step in/out safely. Chunky pens for writing (I have chunky handles on other things too, but the pens are my favourite). An ergonomic mouse, which means my wrist doesn't have to twist when I use a computer. I have splints and sticks and grabbers and other bits and pieces too, but I don't like them much!

  • I have had RA 5 years now and I've learned so much from this post thank you!

  • My knee and wrist braces are invaluable for work

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