Adaptive Kitchen Equipment For Arthritis

Arthritis is a health condition where joints swell and become tender. This can contribute to joint stiffness and pain, where symptoms usually worsens with age. The main types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

When arthritis affects the hands or arms, one may have difficulty with meal preparation and cooking. Everyday activities such as opening jars, cutting plastic packaging, and preparing a meal can become difficult if one experiences pain or discomfort in their joints.

By using adaptive kitchen equipment specifically designed for arthritis sufferers, one may be able to maintain their ability to cook and live independently. These are some examples of the different adaptive kitchen equipment:

Jar Opener

Jars lids are often machine closed in order to ensure a proper seal to preserve the food within. When trying to open a jar, twisting the lid off can be hard for those with arthritis pain and joint issues. 

These are some of the different assistive kitchen aids designed to open a jar more easily:

  1. Automatic Jar Opener – easily open a jar with the push of a button
automatic-jar-opener

Simply place the device on top of the jar and push the button to open the lid. The hands free device clamps onto the jar to secure itself, then latches onto the lid while twisting it off. 

This battery powered tool can easily open various sized jars without any additional effort on your part.

  1. Under Cabinet Jar Opener – teeth latch onto the lid to provide grip as the jar is twisted open
under-cabinet-jar-opener

Installed underneath a cabinet, this jar opener has metallic teeth that grip the lid and hold it in place while the container is twisted open. 

This can be used for small bottle caps or larger sized jars, but it does require someone to have good grasping and twisting motion coming from their hand and arm.

  1. Turn Handle Jar Opener – open stubborn lids by turning an enlarged handle
turn-handle-jar-opener

This device clamps onto a lid with its metal teeth. It can accommodate smaller or larger containers, and a handle is easily twisted to remove the top. 

The mechanism underneath has interlacing teeth that prevent the handle from spinning backwards, so one can progressively twist until the lid comes off.

  1. Circular Gripper with Handle – a long handled gripper gives the leverage needed to twist a lid off
circular-gripper-jar-opener

This non-slip material allows someone to grip the lid of various sized bottle caps and jars through its differently sized circles. From there, the long handle offers the leverage needed to twist the jar and remove a hard to open lid.

  1. Handheld Jar Opener with Base Pad – reduce force required to open lids by rotating the enlarged handle
handheld-jar-opener

This is largely a handheld version of an under the cabinet jar opener. Its large handle is used to rotate the jar open while the metal teeth grip onto the lid.

  1. Lid Popper – lift the lid to pop its seal and easily remove without twisting
jar-lid-popper

If a twisting motion is painful, one can use this assistive tool to lift the jar lid and crack open its seal.

Once you hear that air has entered inside, most lids will easily come off without much struggle or difficult twisting motion.

  1. Gripping Material – prevent hand slipping when twisting a lid off
jar-opening-gripping-material

This non-slip gripping material comes in various shapes and sizes for a variety of differently shaped jar lids. Simply drape the material over the lid and attempt to open it by twisting.

The material prevents hands from slipping when attempting to twist open a jar. Using this method requires a good amount of grasping and twisting strength in the arm and hands.

  1. Adjustable Beam Jar Opener – use an adjustable beam to open varying sized bottles or jars
adjustable-beam-jar-opener

Simply slide the handle along the beam to lock the jaws onto both sides of a lid. From there, the handle is squeezed to ensure a secure fit on the lid or cap, and the container is twisted open to remove the top.

The extended beam offers the needed leverage to open hard to rotate lids. This aid is made with sturdy metal that will not warp or bend with repeated use and is easy to wash.

Can Opener

Opening cans with a traditional can opener requires good strength and grasping ability. If one has poor grasping abilities and pain related to arthritis, this may be a barrier to a nutritious meal. 

These different assistive tools can be used in the kitchen to open cans more easily:

Large Handled Can Opener – big cushioned handled improves grip when opening cans

large-handle-can-opener

Using a can opener with large comfortable handles can make grasping more easy and less painful to hold.

The oversized knob turns easily to spin the sharp cutting wheel along the edges of the can.

Automatic Can Opener – battery powered device that open cans with a button press

automatic-can-opener

With an automatic can opener, one is able to push a button and rely on the battery powered unit to remove the lid on its own without any additional effort.

Ring Pull Can Opener – Use this device for leverage to open an aluminum container by pulling on the tab

pull-ring-tab-opener-for-cans

The tabs of an aluminum can are often difficult to grab as they lie flat. 

With this assistive aid, one can easily pull up on tabs that are hard to lift up. This device can be used for canned soda, soup, fruit, dog or cat food without chipping or damaging the fingernails.

Tube Opener

To prepare a meal, one must often incorporate different flavors and pastes into their recipe. These different seasonings can sometimes be stored within small squeeze tubes with a plastic cap. 

tube-opener

Arthritis sufferers may have a difficult time grasping these small caps to twist off the tops. By using an aid that has steel teeth which firmly hold onto the plastic end, the tube can more easily be twisted open by holding onto the extended handle for leverage.

Spring Action Scissors

Cutting food packages and opening small packets of spices can be a painful and repetitive task for arthritis sufferers. 

spring-action-scissors

Scissors that have a spring action design to open the blades after each cut to reduce hand strain and amount of effort required for repetitive cutting.

These scissors also come with a large handle which allows for better and more comfortable grasping.

Jar Kettle Tipper

Grasping and holding large jars can be hard for some people that have weaker hands or poor grip. 

jug-kettle-tipper

With a jug and kettle tipper, the container can be placed within this sturdy wire tipper to safely and easily pour a beverage. This device securely cradles and pivots gently to pour fluid into a nearby cup without needing to lift anything.

Kitchen Knives

For anyone with orthopedic hand or arm issues, a forward right angle knife can help with meal preparation and reduce pain levels experienced with typical knives. 

forward-right-angle-knife

This ergonomic design harnesses the power one may have in their arm and shoulder to slice and cut, whereas traditional knives rely on motion at the wrist that can contribute to strain and pain.

The large non-slip handle is also comfortable to hold and easy to clean.

Peeling Utensils

Peeling vegetables and fruit can be a repetitive task that can be challenging for those with arthritis.

large-handle-peeler

By having an oversized handle that is comfortable and non-slip when wet, grasping the peeler can be easier and less painful. 

This allows some with arthritis to be able to peel more and finish preparing meals in less time. 

Eating Utensils

  1. Dining Utensils with Oversized Handles – more surface area to hold will improve comfort and ease of use

Kitchen utensils with small handles may be more difficult to grasp to generate enough force with cutting food into smaller portions and consuming meals.

adaptive-utensils

This discomfort can contribute to pain, lead to frustration with meal time and may be a factor in low intake.

By using utensils with larger handles, it will be easier to grasp forks, spoons and knives to cut or consume food.

  1. Foam Tubing – small utensil handles can be inserted into this tube to make handles larger and easier to grasp

Foam tubing can modify existing cutlery to have larger handles. Having more material to hold on to will make it easier to grasp and manipulate utensils.

foam-tubing

While the foam may not be as visually appealing as utensils with large built in handles, this is an inexpensive method that can reduce the need to replace one’s cutlery.

  1. Universal Cuff – strap utensils to the hand to improve functional use during meals

Arthritis sometimes causes hand deformities and extreme pain where even simple grasps may be challenging.

adaptive-handle-universal-cuff

If this is the case, using an adaptive handle or universal cuff can allow someone to continue eating without needing to grasp utensils.

To pick up food and bring it to the mouth, good rotation of the arm and range of motion at the shoulder is required to properly position the wrist.