Making Life Easier – In the Kitchen!

The kitchen can potentially be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house –
and that applies to able bodied and healthy peple too! If you have a chronic
illness or disability then food preparation, cleaning, cooking and ironing
are just a few of the daily challenges you have to overcome. The lucky ones
among you will have someone to help out; if not you have to *muddle through*
as best you can. There are numerous hints and tips and aids and gadgets that
can make life around the kitchen that bit easier. One important piece of
advice is to not feel guilty about splashing out on labour-saving devices –
if it helps and you can afford it, then buy it!

This article first appeared in the Fibromyalgia Magazine. Why not subscribe and receive the latest Fibromyalgia News every month?

More information here.

Hints & Tips:

To avoid accidents, always ensure that rooms are well lit and that floor
coverings are securely fastened down – especially important in a kitchen.

Always try to arrange kitchen cupboards and drawers so that the items which
are used most often are the most accessible.

If pottery plates, bowls, etc are too heavy for you to carry you could
consider plastic as an alternative – there are many attractive designs around

Lever or mixer taps at your kitchen sink will make life easier than with
conventional ones – or you could invest in a set of *tap turners* if you are

If you use a microwave oven, ensure it is not placed so high that you are
continually stretching up when you use it.

Try not to do the washing up until you have a full load – this saves both
time and effort. Even better, invest in a dishwasher!

If you find your sink plug difficult to remove due to stiff fingers or weak
hands, try popping a curtain ring on to the top – it should then be much
easier to remove,

Or simply use a washing-up-bowl instead.

Do you have problems using a hand-held tin opener – for just a few pounds an
electric one will make life much easier.

You can prevent bowls and plates from sliding around worktops by placing them
on a damp tea towel. Special non-slip mats are also available to help keep
crockery, bowls, etc.from moving around.

Or you could fit suction pads to the bottom – and there is even a special
type of pvc available – you simply cut it to size

If you are in pain but mobile, try not to stretch too much around the kitchen
– invest in a step stool instead – but be careful!

A ‘helping hand’ or ‘pick-up-stick’ is a useful gadget to have around the
kitchen – great for retrieving dropped items or removing cans and packets
from high cupboards.

If you find the ‘helping hand’ a little awkward an alternative is
long-handled kitchen tongs

Kettles can cause problems for fibromyalgia sufferers – you could try a
mini-electric kettle (such as designed for caravan holidays) which is much
lighter. An alternative would be to use a very lightweight jug style kettle
and only place a small amount of water in at any one time.

Kettle tippers are also a good idea – available for both conventional and jug
kettles. These make boiling water safer and give you greater control whilst
pouring. (these are especially good for people with reduced grip or weak
hands as only gentle pressure is needed).

Reduced grip and weak hands can also cause problems when lifting saucepans –
especially hot ones. You can buy wire mesh baskets, complete with
heat-resistent handles, that you simply place inside your saucepan and  place
in the food. When cooked simply switch off the saucepan and lift out the
lightweight basket.

If you have problems gripping conventional cutlery there are many forms of
specialist cutlery around – a type to suit every ailment or disability.

Problems with drinking? You could consider lightweight insulated plastic
beakers, two handled mugs or even pastic glasses and cups.  or simply drink
through a bendy straw!

If whisking eggs causes wrist pain or aching arms, pop the eggs into an
empty, clean swrew-top jar,  and give it a good shake.

Jars and bottles often cause problems for people with limited grip or painful
hands – try running it under hot water – this should expand the lid, thereby
loosening it. Or try removing the top whilst wearing rubber gloves.  Thee are
of course many clever gadgets and grippers for doing this household task.

There is even a special gadget for removing ring-pulls from pop and beer cans.

If actually standing in the kitchen is causing problems you could invest in a
special *perching stool* – these are farily high and have a sloping seat.
Ideal when preparing vegetables, washing dishes or ironing. Prices vary but
expect to pay around £30.

If you find ironing difficult: Try drip-drying your clothes, most of the
creases will just fall out. Hanging clothes in a steamy room works too.
Tumble dried clothes take less ironing. There are also specialist fabric
conditioners around which make clothes *easy iron* but these are not cheap!

Diane Parkes

This article first appeared in the Fibromyalgia Magazine. Why not subscribe and receive the latest Fibromyalgia News every month?

More information here.