7 YouTube Videos Every Caregiver Should Watch

As a caregiver, you have many responsibilities. You may have been positioned as a caregiver at the last minute, with no formal training on taking care of your senior loved one. Taking care of the elderly, you should have a visual demonstration of how to handle their needs, for their safety and yours. Here are seven YouTube videos that every caregiver should watch.

1. Understanding and Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you may have a limited support system. Family and friends may help out initially, but their support gradually fades away. They are busy supporting their family. Their finances are tied up in their household needs. They don’t understand that even one hour a day provides you with much-needed relief.

You’ll notice signs of caregiver burnout such as having anxiety, restless nights, or are easily frustrated. You may avoid social interactions as well. Second Opinion has a health care team addressing caregiver burnout and what can be done about it. It’s important to address your health and emotional needs before you can assist others.

2 . Feeding a Senior While in Bed

Feeding a senior is not as easy as you would think. There are a lot of concerns, such as if they can sit up properly to swallow food, if they can chew their food, and what foods they can eat. A senior can easily become malnourished due to special dietary concerns of dysphagia. So it’s important that you understand how and what foods to feed your senior loved one. Caregiver Minute presents this video that shows you step by step instructions on feeding a senior while they are in bed.

3. Simple Modifications for Senior Home Safety

85-90% of seniors want to stay at home, and it is recommended they stay home for their mental well-being. Were you aware that the majority of household accidents seniors are involved in occur in the bathroom? Certain accidents such as falling over objects, falling off ladders, or slipping in the bathroom occur often, but can be avoided. Home Instead reviews their Home Safety Checklist. In this video, you will learn simple and inexpensive tips to modify your senior loved ones home for safety.

4. How to Transfer Your Loved One

As your senior loved ones primary caregiver, you are going to need to transition them from a laying down position to a sitting up position. You may need to move them from the bed to a chair. Moving them around often helps prevents bed sores and their muscles from tightening. It also exposes them to other areas of the home so that isolation and loneliness does not set in.

Transferring your loved one around is not easy at all. It is far more difficult than moving a heavy object because you must be careful not to cause physical injuries to yourself or them. Watch this video by Family Caregiver Alliance to learn how to transfer seniors around safely.

5. Managing Medications

A very tough job for caregivers is managing medications. It’s a difficult enough task getting a senior to take just one prescription, but when you have a host of them, it’s confusing as well. Doctors do attempt to prescribe the least amount of medications for a patient. When they are on multiple pills, they then attempt to let the senior take as many as possible together. This is not always safe to do. So in those situations, you, as their caregiver take on the immense responsibility of ensuring they take their medications on time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an outstanding video reviewing various tips on proper medication management.

6. How to Monitor Blood Sugar

Your loved one’s blood sugar should be carefully monitored. If it’s too high or too low, the senior could become very sick. Knowing where their blood sugar levels are at is important to treat them immediately if something should occur. It’s also important to track it so your senior loved one’s doctor will know if their diet should be adjusted or prescriptions changed.

Monitoring your blood sugar is not as simple as poking one’s finger. There are precautions and proper procedures that should be followed. Watch this video from the Mayo Clinic that shows you step-by-step instructions on how to monitor your loved one’s blood sugar levels. They also have this important video demonstrating how to administer insulin using an insulin pen.

7. How To Measure Blood Pressure

High and low blood pressure levels can alert you to a serious problem in your loved one. Too high or low blood pressure could be an indication of neurological or heart disorders. The symptoms include dizziness, thirst, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. However, it’s not always apparent, especially in seniors with diabetes. As a caregiver, you should monitor your loved one’s blood pressure levels to ensure they are safe. Cal Poly’s PolyFit students give an excellent overview and demonstration of how to measure blood pressure.

These videos will help ease your transition into the role of caregiver for your senior loved one. Best of all, they are always there for you to refer to if you get nervous or forget.

Activities of Daily Living

As our parents age, we often try not the think about the worst case scenarios. However, the truth is, your parents will age and come to a state where they depend on us to handle their financial, legal, and emotional matters. It’s important for you to know their wishes and how to obtain important documentation. Here are seven questions to ask your aging parents before it’s too late, and things become complicated.

1. Do You Have Someone to Make Health Care Decisions for You?

In most cases, aging parents are expected to make health care decisions for their spouse. However, decisions can be prolonged or go in the opposite direction of what a person wanted. This is because family and close friends are too emotionally attached, thinking of their own wants and needs. Your aging parents can select a health care proxy who will handle all their health care decisions. Before they designate one, they need to be sure this person can carry out their wishes.

2. Do You Have an Idea of the Type of Medical Care You Want?

Having a health care decision maker only works well if they know your medical care wishes. That’s why it’s important to discuss with the decision maker exactly what they want, especially when faced with the end of life decisions. Comfort levels, pain management, life support decisions, these are all important as your parent does have their own views.

3. Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?

The fact that both of your parents are alive and well does not mean they shouldn’t have a will or living trust established. Typically, when a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse automatically receives the assets. However, what should happen if they become incapacitated or pass away soon thereafter? It’s important that both of your aging parents establish a will or living trust so their possessions can be passed on as they wish.

4. Do You Have Your Long-Term Care Plan in Place?

Some parents believe they will stay at home until they pass on. They don’t think about how they will be able to remain at home and be comfortable. There are costs involved, such as an actual caretaker, medications, and supportive equipment. They may, in fact, not be able to remain at home and need to go to a supportive facility such as an assisted living or nursing home.

The costs of these communities are rising so having a long-term care plan in place, especially insurance, is going to be helpful. If they do have long-term care insurance in place, set up an appointment for you, your parents, and the insurance agent to discuss the policy in full. You need to make sure you understand it and the coverage options.

5. Where Can I Find Your Important Documents and Are They Current?

If you are not familiar with where your parents keep their important documents, it’s time to find out. If something were to happen to them, you don’t want to waste time searching their home for insurance documents, medical paperwork, financial statements, or proxy designation forms. Any documents kept in a safe deposit box should have a designated family member assigned a key. Ensure these documents are up to date as well.

6. Do You Have All Your Doctor’s Listed in One Location?

Should an emergency happen, it could be critical for attending physicians to talk to your parent’s primary care physician (PCP). There could have been a recent appointment that uncovered important information about your parent’s medical condition. You should know who their physicians are and how to contact them.

7. What Are Your Current Medications?

As your parents age, you can expect that sooner or later there may be medication management problems. They may get confused regarding what prescriptions they take and why. They may mix up their dosage. Having a clear understanding of their prescriptions could save your parent’s life should they become confused.

If your parents are comfortable and open with you, go over these 35 questions that AARP has compiled together. Sometimes the best way to be there for your aging parents is to ask them the hard and uncomfortable questions.

Discover 10 things you should never say to your aging parents. http://bit.ly/1DsAmGV

What causes multiple sclerosis?

Multiple SclerosisMultiple sclerosis is a chronic condition that causes both mental and physical symptoms. The exact cause of MS is still unknown, however, there are several theories surrounding this condition, and ongoing studies aim to find the exact cause. The studies surrounding MS are based on immunology, epidemiology, and genetics. In addition, infectious agents are studied, as some experts believe that it’s not actually a genetic disorder, but caused by an outside influence. By understanding the theories surrounding the development of MS, eventually the cause will be found, and possibly a cure.

Immunologic factors

The immune system of an individual with multiple sclerosis is compromised, as the immune-mediated response attacks the myelin coating. This coating works to protect the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. When these fibers are damaged, the central nervous system is compromised, leading to a wide-array of symptoms.

According to experts, during the attack of the protective myelin coating, important nerve receptors are also attacked, which is the main reason for the rapid decline seen in MS patients once their condition begins to progress. Those working to determine the cause of this condition focus mainly on the immune-mediated process in MS. This includes; what sets the process in motion, how it works, and how to slow or stop it. Examining these factors has helped bring researchers closer to understanding MS and its cause.

Environmental factors

According to research, multiple sclerosis occurs more often is people who are located further from the equator. A group of scientists that study disease patterns, known as Epidemiologists, are currently looking into how environmental factors effect MS, and what factors play a direct role in its development.

Studies indicate that people born in certain areas are more prone to the development of MS. One major area of focus is areas where vitamin D levels are higher or lower. Those who live closer to the equator are subjected to higher levels of natural vitamin D from the sunlight. When you get a lot of sun, your body begins producing the vitamin D naturally. The ending result is an increased immune system, which may be a key factor in fighting off MS.

Infectious factors

Some researchers believe it’s not genetic or environmental factors that cause MS, but infectious factors. These factors include viruses, bacteria, and similar microbes that people are exposed to during their childhood. These viruses are known for causing demyelination and inflammation within the body. When this occurs, the body begins to fight against itself, which could be the cause of the attack on the myelin coating, which is thought to cause a breakdown of the immune system, thus lead to multiple sclerosis.

There are specific infectious diseases that are thought to cause MS. Over a dozen infectious diseases are said to be linked to the development of MS. These include: Epson-Barr virus, measles, canine distemper, human herpes, virus-6, chlamydia pneumonia.

Genetic factors

Multiple sclerosis is thought to be linked to genetics, such as having a parent or sibling that has multiple sclerosis. Researchers believe that those who have a family history of MS are more likely to develop the condition. One theory is that MS develops when there are several genetic factors in place.

According to this theory, people are born with MS, but the condition can show face at any time in a person’s lifetime. Another area of this theory is that if you have these environmental factors, and then are exposed to factors within a person’s environment, multiple sclerosis develops. The condition develops due a response present within the body, triggering an immune-mediated response.

Given these factors, researchers are looking for new ways to detect and identify genes, and using this information to determine which role genes play in the development of multiple sclerosis.

Conclusion

While the exact cause and a cure have yet to be found, education and awareness are key. Both the public and researchers involved in the studies can aim towards finding a cure by gaining knowledge on the cause of multiple sclerosis and current available treatment options.

5 Pain Management Tips for Seniors

pain management

Dealing with pain is hard at any age, but for seniors who often face additional difficulties, it can be even harder. Pain effects people in ways that are more than physical. When you experience pain, it often makes you feel irritable and grumpy, which can have a negative impact on your relationships.

If you’ve dealt with pain your entire life, or it’s entirely new to you, these 5 pain management techniques can help you cope with the difficulty you face, and enhance your overall quality of life.

 

Pain Management Tips To Help Ease The Pain

Exercise gently

Providing your body with gentle exercise is one of the most effective pain management techniques for seniors. Exercise has a variety of benefits, from reducing stress to helping you sleep more soundly at night. When you exercise gently each day, in the form of walking, swimming, gardening, and dancing, you’re reducing pain in your body caused by stiff and tense muscles, and reducing pain in the future.

If you don’t already exercise each day through simple activities, it’s never too late to start. It’s important to start the process slowly and increase it gradually. While you may experience some pain in the beginning, most experts agree that your pain will lessen overtime, and you’ll see a big reduction in your overall daily pain level.

*Prior to starting an exercise routine, discuss your plans with your doctor. Once you get medical approval, you can incorporate one of the activities listed in the ladder into your daily routine.

Remember to breathe

Not many people realize the importance of breathing, or how it works as an effective pain management technique. When you experience pain, your breathing often becomes rapid and shallow. Lack of deep breathing causes a reduction in oxygen flow to the brain, which can actually make pain feel worse.

When you experience pain, take some nice deep breaths and notice its reduction. It’s recommended that you breathe deeply into your nose and out of your mouth. In addition, holding your breathe for ten seconds before releasing will provide your brain with the oxygen it needs to work its best.

Consider counseling

Dealing with pain on a regular basis can cause a lot of emotional distress. Pain causes you to feel drained, anxious, depressed, and irritable. When you experience emotional distress associated with your pain, it can make you feel a lot worse. These combined feelings can lead to a downward spiral that causes you to lose hope. By taking to a pain management counselor, you can get the comfort you need to work through the pain. In addition, they can help you gain an understanding regarding your pain. Understanding the cause of your pain is often a great pain management technique, as it allows you to consider the cause of your pain and let the feelings go, rather than focusing on it which can make it feel worse.

Focus on something else

When you focus too much on your pain, it can actually make it worse. Often, when pain is experienced on a regular basis, it’s the only thing on your mind. However, taking up a hobby and occupying yourself with it whenever you feel pain will help reduce your pain by limiting your focus.

Get the right sleep

If you experience high levels of pain at night time, or experience sleep related issues, chances are you’re not getting the sleep you need. Sleep deprivation can make pain a lot worse, and even cause additional health problems as your organs and immune system is compromised.

In order to improve your quality of sleep, you can explore medical options with your doctor, or look into natural options. You also want to maintain a regular sleep routine, which helps you to unwind and tells your body bed time is approaching.

Conclusion

Often, changing your lifestyle and daily habits is the most effective pain management technique for seniors and can improve your pain dramatically. While you may feel as if relief isn’t in sight, you’ll find that after a short period of time using the pain management techniques listed above, you feel much better on a day-to-day basis.

Life After a Stroke, Part 2

Life after a strokeIn part one of Life After a Stroke, we discussed the lifestyle changes a stroke survivor goes through once he or she comes home. Part two deals with the potential complications one has after a stroke and what the survivor can do about them.

Dealing with Potential Complications after a Stroke

Loss of muscle control is a common complication among stroke patients. This makes eating, using the restroom, walking around, and remembering things more difficult. Your loved one may be perfectly capable of participating in activities he or she once enjoyed, but may no longer have the motivation or zest for life to do so. The stroke survivor may even feel embarrassed due to having a decreased quality of life.

Complications Eating and Swallowing

Eating complications come in many forms, including problems swallowing food (dysphagia) or remembering how to eat. The American Stroke Association states that 65% of stroke victims experience dysphagia. Being unable to hold a spoon correctly or needing assistance can bring down a person’s morale after spending a lifetime living independently and/or taking care of others. This is why it’s so easy for stroke victims to become depressed.

What they can do:

• Therapy treatment to strengthen throat muscles

Eat sitting up in a 90-degree angle

• Eat with the head turned to one side
• Eat a soft diet, so foods are easy to chew and swallow
• Eat and drink small amounts at a time
• Drink thick liquids that won’t rush down their throat
• Eliminate distractions while eating, such as a television or visitors talking
• Eat or drink using assistive devices such as cuffs to hold objects in hands, utensils with grips to prevent slipping, and weighted cups and dishes to prevent tipping over

Complications with Bladder and Bowel Control

A stroke victim may have bladder and bowel control issues, which many find embarrassing. Common bladder and bowel control issues for stroke victims include:

• Urinary or fecal incontinence
• Retaining their urine and needing it removed
• Urge incontinence
• Constipation
• Diarrhea

What they can do:

• Bladder retraining – increasing the time in between each visit
• Take medications to reduce urine production
• Use a catheter to drain and prevent infections
• Wear an adult diaper for incontinence until training improves bladder control
• Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep a healthy bladder. Also, this prevents the bladder from holding small amounts of concentrated urine, which can irritate the bladder.

Complications with Pain

Pain is something many stroke victims experience, in many areas of their bodies. Sometimes the pain is chronic, while other times it comes and goes. Nerve damage to the brain can cause central pain or local pain that only affects the joints. It’s important to communicate with the doctor and physical therapist regarding these pains. Otherwise, it could lead to anxiety attacks, decreased appetite, restless nights, or depression.

What they can do:

• Work with a doctor and therapist to combine certain medicines with therapy treatment to help reduce the pain.
• Massages
• Acupuncture

Complications with Balance

Another complication a stroke victim may experience is maintaining balance. This is very aggravating to the stroke survivor, as well as being dangerous. Many day-to-day activities are affected by this such as cooking, grooming, mowing the lawn, and walking through the home. Sometimes the person may feel dizzy or lightheaded, which can increase their risk of falling.

What they can do:

• Ensure hallways and rooms are well lit to avoid tripping
• Wear slippers with soles that grip
• Walk slowly through the home
• Practice Yoga and Pilates
• Step backwards before turning
• Keep multiple reachers throughout the home

Complications with Thinking, Memory, and Behaviors

Depending upon where the stroke was in your loved one’s brain, it could affect his or her cognitive thinking, short or long-term memory, and behavior. The length and severity of the stroke also affect the outcome.

Some stroke victims lose control of their emotions or display emotions that are contrary to what is expected. Some people get excessively angry over minor incidents, and others may laugh during a grieving moment. Some stroke victims may behave irrationally or act impulsively.

A stroke victim may have issues solving problems. They aren’t able to think of one thing and move on to the next step. He or she may have difficulty paying attention.

Because of this, stroke victims often have trouble retaining new information. This is why, if they are starting all over, they may need constant care.

What they can do:

• Keep a calendar or notebook for important information where he or she will see it, such as the bedroom nightstand or kitchen table
• Write notes on post-it-notes and place on frequently visited items or areas in the home
• Practice routine habits
• Use association techniques with dates and names
• Visualize doing something and dramatize the event. For example, if your relative needs to pick up eggs from the store, he or she should visualize picking up a large container of eggs next to chickens

There is life after a stroke. Your loved one’s doctor and therapist are excellent sources for learning about how to cope with stroke-related complications. It will take practice and hard work, but your loved one can overcome these, and the many other complications due to a stroke.

Life After a Stroke, Part 1

Life after a strokeAfter a stroke, it seems like the survivor’s world has come to an end. However, the focus should be on getting back to the state they were in before they had the stroke. It’s quite possible to get back to that state; however, there will be some roadblocks. In part one of this two-part article, we’ll discuss lifestyle changes a stroke survivor will endure.

The Life Led Before a Stroke May Change Dramatically

Some stroke survivors can return home with minimal complications as a result of their stroke. Others are not as lucky. Strokes can make you weak, numb or paralyzed. Your balance and coordination could be off. You can have difficulty thinking and trouble concentrating. As strokes also affect muscles, you could also have incontinence problems.

All these factors are determined based on what part of the brain was injured and to what extent. So your living arrangements, ways you interact with others, and your independence could all be affected.

Living Arrangements

After having a stroke, it’s important to start discussing your love ones living arrangements. Some stroke survivors will be well enough to go home while others will need around the clock care. This could be due to the physical, emotional, or mental challenges that lie ahead. It’s important to have supportive family and friends during this time, no matter if you stay at home, need to move to a care facility, or move in with relatives.

1. A nursing home is best for stroke survivors who aren’t able to assist in their own care. Nursing homes offer a variety of care levels from intermediate to skilled nursing.

2. Home health care and private duty care are great options for stroke survivors to stay home. They may need regular medical attention, but are somewhat mobile and cognitive. A home health or private duty nurse is also additional companionship your loved one will need.

3. Staying at home is always the best method of care because your loved one is still able to keep a positive attitude. They don’t have to adjust to a new environment. This helps the recovery process go faster.

Working with a Therapist for a Speedy Recovery

As mentioned, there are many complications resulting from having a stroke. Physical complications could be to one or more areas of the body. Physical and occupational therapy is essential in the speedy recovery and helps the survivor to get back to a somewhat normal life.

Some people think they can recover on their own by doing exercises at home; however, this is only a fraction of exercises you’ll need to perform to recover fully. A therapist is needed to ensure your range of motion is back in tact, retrain your muscles, and provide alternative methods of performing routine activities at home.

Caregivers Play a Strong Role in the Recovery Process

Family and friends play an integral role in a stroke survivor’s recovery process. They are their cheerleaders, giving encouraging words. They help walk them through their normal routines until they get it right on their own. Caregivers ensure stroke survivors are fed and dressed when their loved one is unable to do so on their own.  Family and friends are a stroke survivor’s backbone during such a stressful time.

New Routines Can Be Formed with Patience and Practice

After a stroke, the survivor is going to need to learn new routines. It will take patience and practice, but it’s necessary to get back the quality of life they used to have. They may need to learn new ways to dress themselves and use other tools to help them eat and drink.

Your Home Needs to Be Safe

As mentioned, a stroke survivor’s balance may be thrown off. So it’s important to have a safe home. The occupational therapist should come to the home to evaluate its current state and offer safety suggestions to modify the home. They may suggest moving furniture, adding foam padding to table edges, securing electrical cords against the wall, replace flooring so a wheelchair can flow through the home more freely, or remove doorframes so a wheelchair can fit through.

Work on Healthy Living Habits

Due to some of the complications a stroke survivor faces, some survivors’ lives are ended rather quickly. However, you can work on your loved one’s health to extend their life. It’s important they work on staying physically fit, eating a healthy diet, and controlling their cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

There is life after a stroke. With a bit of patience, discipline, and hard work, a stroke survivor can have many healthy years to look forward to.

Part 2 of Life After a Stroke will focus on specific complications and a few helpful tips around them.

Easy Exercises for Arthritis Patients

According to a 2011 study of arthritis patients performed by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, about 55 percent of women and 40 percent of men are inactive.  Very few of the men and women in the study came close to the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day.  Whether the inactivity is due to arthritic pain or the fear of pain, avoiding exercise is actually counterproductive.  Regular exercise plays a vital role in managing arthritis symptoms and successfully coping with this painful condition.

Studies have shown that exercise helps arthritis sufferers enjoy a greater range of motion, improved balance, and reduced joint pain.  While almost everyone can safely perform the following exercises, it’s always recommended to get your doctor’s permission first.

Yoga

Not only is yoga enjoyable for arthritic seniors, it’s highly beneficial as well.  Studies have proven yoga to be a very effective treatment for arthritis symptoms.  Yoga increases muscle strength, improves flexibility, increases energy, enhances respiratory endurance, and improves balance – which reduces your risk of falls.  Yoga also gives you a mental boost, which is especially important for seniors who suffer from depression.

If you can’t seem to find a beginner’s yoga class near you, rent a video from your local library.  The instructions should be easy enough to follow on your own, and you can get a feel for whether or not yoga is for you.

Water Aerobics

Any form of aerobics is beneficial for overall health, but water aerobics is easier on the joints.  You’re not bearing your own weight, which will allow you to exercise longer with few (if any) side effects.  Swimming – even doing simple stretches – is also a good way to warm up your muscles and relieve arthritis pain.  Aqua therapy has long been used for treating arthritis patients, so visit a local YMCA or senior center to give it a try.

Strength-Training

Working with weights may not be for everyone, but it can definitely be effective for some.  It’s important to be familiar with which body parts are more vulnerable to flare-ups, so you can avoid overexerting those areas.  Resistance exercises build strong muscles, which are needed to support and protect joints affected by arthritis.  A strength-training study by Tufts University showed that strength-training decreased pain in osteoarthritis sufferers by 43 percent, improved physical performance, and decreased disability.  Similar positive effects have been seen in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Even when you have a chronic pain condition like arthritis, you can successfully stay physically active.  The key is to find whatever works for you personally.  It may take time to find an effective workout, but keep trying until you do.

Making Your Home Arthritis-Friendly

Coping With Arthritis

 

Arthritis is the most common disease in individuals aged 65 and older, with half of the United State’s senior population suffering from some form of the condition.  Arthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints, is not actually one disease but a group of more than 100 different conditions that cause swelling, pain, and interference with normal movement.

Most (if not all) arthritic seniors have the desire to “age-in-place” at home, but some question their decision when arthritis symptoms start to worsen.  Even simple tasks become a challenge – often causing frustration, depression, and pain.  Fortunately, there are a variety of ways seniors can make their homes more “arthritis-friendly.”

  1. Add lights and de-clutter.  This goes for all seniors, not just those suffering from arthritis.  Installing additional lights makes it easier for seniors to see, while eliminating unnecessary clutter clears walk-ways and prevents painful falls.
  2. Replace doorknobs with levers.  Doorknobs can be painfully difficult for arthritic seniors to turn, so switching to levers can make a considerable difference.
  3. Install grab bars and hand rails.  If arthritis symptoms make it difficult for you to navigate through your home, installing grab bars and hand rails will help significantly.  They can be placed along hallways, in bathrooms – virtually anywhere you need assistance walking or rising from a seated position.  Thanks to the popularity of such hardware, you can likely find just the right color and style to match your home.
  4. Purchase a shower seat.  Sitting while showering reduces stress on your joints and makes the entire experience less tiring.  If stepping into a bathtub is hard on your knees, consider installing a walk-in tub and shower.
  5. Minimize steps.  Arthritic knees and ankles can make walking up and down stairs incredibly painful.  Many seniors who live at home eventually have to move into a single-story dwelling as a result.  Another way to eliminate stair steps is by installing an indoor chair lift and outdoor ramps.  These assistive devices can be pricey but most seniors agree they are well-worth the investment.
  6. Remodel your kitchen.  If your budget allows for renovations, the kitchen is the best place to do so.  Most work in the kitchen is done with your hands – which is also where arthritis may plague you the most.  Cabinet and drawer handles should be replaced with D-shaped handles which are easier to grasp.  Buying a refrigerator with side-by-side doors reduces the need for bending and twisting, while lowering cabinet shelves decreases strain from reaching.

These are just a few of the ways you can make your home more arthritis-friendly.  Check with your doctor, arthritis-support group, or local senior center for more suggestions.