Cooking with Arthritis: 7 Tips for Success
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis can both make cooking more challenging for older adults who live with either condition. Even the simplest of tasks such as slicing an apple or removing the lid on a plastic container can cause pain for seniors. There are, however, steps you can take to make cooking a little easier. From how you organize your kitchen to making use of adaptive utensils, these tips can help.
7 Tips to Make Cooking Easier for Arthritis Sufferers
- Organize your kitchen so the items you use most frequently are stored at eye level. This saves you from having to bend or stretch to reach the equipment and supplies you need. The same holds true for how you organize your refrigerator and freezer. Put the foods you reach for most often in the easiest to access places.
- If your arthritis is in your knees, ankles or back, find a stool that will allow you to sit and work at the kitchen island or counter instead of standing. It will help relieve the pressure on problem joints.
- While it might be less expensive to purchase supplies in larger quantities, it can make those items heavier to lift. Try to buy ingredients such as flour, sugar, and oil in smaller quantities or to divide them up in to smaller containers when you get home.
- Purchase kitchen tools and equipment that the easiest to use. Electric can openers are kinder for arthritic hands than manual ones. A standing mixer left on the countertop may be less difficult to maneuver than a hand held mixer.
- Invest in adaptive kitchen utensils and dinnerware. Most can be purchased fairly inexpensively. Tools range from non-skid cutting boards to easy-to-grip knives and spatulas.
- Make a habit of placing the pot or pan you will be using to cook with on the stovetop while it is empty. Then add water and other ingredients to the pan. It is a much friendlier on painful joints in the hands and fingers than trying to lift a full, heavy pot.
- When you want to store leftovers in a plastic container, run hot water over the lid for a few seconds before using it. This will generally soften the plastic and make it easier to handle.
To help older adults better manage everyday activities, the Arthritis Foundation created Living with Arthritis. This resource center contains information on a variety of topics ranging from managing pain to diet and exercise.