The use of assistive devices is becoming more common for people with a range of chronic conditions. They can also be very useful for people with arthritis. We asked Occupational Therapist Katherine Curcuruto to tell us more.
As an occupational therapist, a great part of my job is increasing people’s awareness, and educating them on the range of assistive devices available. I then work closely with people to find which devices may work best to meet their needs.
So what do we mean when we talk about assistive devices?
An assistive device is any piece of equipment that enables or ‘assists’ you to complete day to day tasks that you need, want or have to do. Some examples include:
- Using a shower chair and long handled sponge when showering to help limit fatigue or the need to bend as much.
- Using an adaptive knife or jar opener to help with preparing meals.
- Using right-angled or long handled garden tools to assist with gardening.
Some people with arthritis may have increased difficulty with using their hands. This can include reduced grip strength, difficulty doing or maintaining certain grasps, and/or reduced fine motor movement. Other difficulties can include limitations with bending, joint stiffness that affects movement, or ongoing fatigue and pain. This can lead to a reduced ability to be able to do daily tasks.
Assistive devices can be helpful for people diagnosed with arthritis, as they can help to maintain or promote function. Adding these devices into daily tasks also helps with joint protection by placing less stress on the joints and helping to reduce the amount of energy we use to do a task.
For more information
The assistive devices that best meet your needs and activity goals may vary. So it is important that you speak to your health professional to find what is right for you.
Taking the time to do your own research is also a great way of working out what devices may help you in your daily tasks.
If you are interested in exploring the options available, it is recommended to seek the advice of an Occupational Therapist. An Occupational Therapist can work with you directly at home, at work or in the community to determine the equipment that will best meet your needs.
To find an Occupational Therapist near you, talk to your GP or visit www.otaus.com.au.
Examples of some assistive devices:
Author: Katherine Curcuruto