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Life Hacks for People with Arthritis

Oct 03, 2019 3:00 am
Since moving to South Florida (also popularly known as "God's Waiting Room" by the locals). I've learned a lot more about Lipstick Rheumatology. This moniker was made famous by my friend and colleague, Dr. Kathryn Dao, who first wrote about the nuances of being a female with rheumatic disease. This blog focuses on three popular products recommended by my female patients that serve as life improving hacks.
One of my patients recently brought her husband to her appointment. They were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Her husband told me how beautiful his wife is and that he has always loved her long hair. (Historically, this patient has sported a pixie cut for the last several years.) Her now chin length hair is credited to the light weight, Revlon One-step volumizing hair dryer. It has a wide grip base allowing you to dry and style hair quickly. This saves time and effort... and apparently, marriages. 
Another patient recently showed me her Vivi pocket dresser multitool. This ingenious little device has two size button hole options and multiple pulls for zippers and shoe laces. It's not completely intuitive, so I recommend a short tutorial on YouTube or Amazon. It's small enough to put in a purse or pocket, though a little on the heavy side. I recommend this to all of my patients who have trouble with buttons and pulls. 
If you ask your patients, difficulty with jewelry can often be a very real complaint. We generally think to ask about ring sizing and trouble with knuckles, but what about bracelets? My sweet, jewelry making RA patient brought up the Bracelet Magic bracelet fastener. It's a flexible fastening device that allows you to wrap the bracelet around your wrist prior to securing. The downside is that you still have to get the clasp open on the other side in order to use the product. If all else fails, remind your patients that they can take their jewelry to a jeweler to get new, easier to open magnetic clasp on bracelets and necklaces. 
Small life-hacks can make a huge difference in a patient's quality of life. It never surprises me just how much our patients can teach us...we just have to be willing to listen. Have your patients shared any life-hacks with you?

Rachel Tate, DO is in clinical practice at Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates of Palm Beach. Her areas of interest include patient advocacy, musculoskeletal ultrasound, pregnancy in connective tissue disease, and spondyloarthropathies.

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