If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may find various places in your home are challenging. The kitchen is one of these places where finding ways to adapt to your changing needs can make everyday tasks easier.
Mobile Island/Utility Cart
When your kitchen does not have an island or is too small to accommodate one, you are missing out on an invaluable tool. Mobile islands or utility carts that can serve a similar function are space-saving and can be set up in almost any location near your kitchen. The advantage of a mobile island is you can use the area to prep food while seated if you frequently experience back pain while standing for long periods. Since the island is on wheels, it is easy to move. Just be sure to choose options that have locking wheels to avoid unintended movement. Mobile islands generally have storage space in the form of cabinets or shelves under the cutting surface. Some with open shelves may also serve as a good location for small appliances, such as a microwave.
Changing your current faucet to a pull-out kitchen faucet is a relatively inexpensive change that can spare your hands. As needed, the faucet pulls away from the base so it can be used as a sprayer. This feature is especially useful if you hand-wash dishes because you no longer need to hunch over the sink to rinse your dishes. Additionally, some large pans can be hard to hold, especially when your hands and wrists are actively inflamed. The ability to use the sprayer function can minimize the need to lift pots and pans or otherwise manipulate them to rinse them off or keep them under the stream of water. Depending on how long the hose is, you may be able to use the sprayer to fill a pot with water without having to carry it back to the stove.
Accessible Cabinets And Appliances
Many of the features seen in kitchens that are wheelchair accessible can be applicable for people with RA even if you do not use a wheelchair. For example, having some of your kitchen appliances raised from the ground, such as the oven or dishwasher, can minimize the need to bend as much to use these appliances. This is especially important when trying to lift heavy, hot pots and pans from the oven onto the counter. Cabinets with pull-out shelves or racks are ideal for larger cookware. Simply changing the hardware on your cabinets and drawers can be helpful. Bars that are wider in diameter or slightly larger knobs can be easier to grip for people with swollen hands or deformities.
Slight changes to your kitchen can be enough to make the area RA-friendly. For some people, making everyday tasks easier can bring back the joy of cooking.