Arthritis and how to choose the right furniture

Do you have arthritis? If you do, then you probably have stiff, painful joints and significant mobility and functioning issues. So if you do, always try and make your life easier by choosing the right furniture - for you. As the outside world is not always equipped with your everyday needs in mind. However, you can be absolutely 100% sure that the furniture in your home is there for your needs and comfort. The 2 rooms that you are likely to spend most of your time in are the sitting room and the bedroom. Getting in and out of your bed and out of your chairs can be problematic, especially if you have joint problems. Therefore, your choice of furniture is extremely important, if you need to use and accommodate walking/mobility aids due to mobility issues.

Not quite sure where to start? Here are some tips from Arthritis Research UK: - Choose firm chairs that are not low, so that it’s easier for you to sit down and to get up out of them. Your spine needs support, so a chair with a sturdy backrest is essential. Plush, soft sofas are tempting, but could be problematic to use if you have joint problems. When sitting upright, your feet should rest on the floor. If you don’t have a choice when it comes to the furniture, consider adding a sturdy cushion to a chair or sofa. This will add both height and stability to your posture. - When choosing a work chair, get one that’s adjustable so you can position the chair for different work surfaces. When sitting at a desk or table, your shoulders should be relaxed, and your wrists straight. - When choosing furniture of any kind, avoid shiny surfaces that need to be polished, as they can be slippery. - When reading, even in your favourite living-room chair, use a bookstand at eye level so that you don’t strain your neck by looking down all the time. - It’s essential to have enough space to move between furniture, especially if you’re using walking aids such as a rollator, walking frame or wheelchair. Narrow doorways can also be problematic. - Dining chairs can sometimes be low. Mid-height barstools may be more practical for everyday use. - When choosing curtains or blinds, install a pull wand or drapery baton, as they’re also known, so that you don’t have to stretch up to open and close them. Choose lightweight fabrics, as opening and closing heavy curtains can be a strain. - Loose carpets can be very dangerous as they can trip you. Non-slip tiles or wall-to-wall carpeting is preferable. If you have loose carpets, make sure the edges are securely hidden under big pieces of furniture so that they don’t become an obstacle to you. Wet tiles are always a slip risk, so any spillages need to be mopped up immediately anywhere in the house. - Make sure your mattress is sturdy, high and provides you with good support at night. This is definitely something worth spending money on; especially if you consider that you spend so much time asleep or lying in your bed. How to get up in the mornings - A high chair or bed rail placed next to your bed will help you get up in the mornings. - Make sure that door and cupboard handles are of the lever-type, rather than knobs that need to be turned or twisted. Or if you have knobs, you can use Great Grips to ease the process. - Light switches shouldn’t be too high up and shouldn’t require turning, such as in the case of many types of dimmer switches. - Shelves should be easy for you to reach. And always store your most frequently used items at mid-height, so you don’t have to stretch or bend down unnecessarily.

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