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For Arthritis Sufferers : Kitchen Gadgets, Organization Help

February 26, 1987

For a person with arthritis, working in the kitchen can be a demanding chore.

"Most kitchens are not designed for people with physical limitations," said Dena Slonaker, an occupational therapist and a volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation of Southern California. "However, with some simple rearrangements and special gadgets, people with arthritis can keep the joy in cooking."

The Arthritis Foundation offers the following tips to make your kitchen more enjoyable:

--Keep the things you use most often within easy reach. Store extra sets of frequently used utensils, such as measuring cups and spoons, in several strategic places throughout the kitchen.

--Wear an apron with several pockets to place small cooking utensils at your fingertips while working.

--Hang pots and pans from a wall rack at a comfortable level to eliminate bending and reaching.

--Have lazy Susans in your spice or food cabinets to help make items more easily accessible.

--Take advantage of days when you're feeling particularly good to prepare meals that can be frozen. On other days, simply thaw and reheat these dishes for an instant meal.

--Do as many jobs as possible sitting down, using a stool with rollers that is high enough to make kitchen counters accessible.

--Avoid purchasing heavy kitchenware, such as cast-iron pots and ceramic bowls. Instead use lighter aluminum or plastic containers.

--Use a wire mesh basket in the boiling pot when boiling foods such as spaghetti. When the spaghetti is cooked, simply lift the basket out to drain.

--Remember to keep an eye out for features that will make work simpler when selecting kitchen equipment. Appliances with levers or push buttons, non-stick easy-to-clean pans and double-handled cookware can be helpful in the kitchen.

--Equip the kitchen with as many labor-saving devices as possible, such as electric can openers, blenders, knives and food processor.

--Place the palm or heel of your hand flat on lids of jars, and twist to open them rather than grasping them with your fingers.

--Make utensils easier to grasp by building up the handles with foam rubber.

--Anchor bowls in the corner of the sink with a rubber sink mat or soap holder when stirring ingredients.

--Lift hot pots with both hands, protected by oven mitts.

--Line any hard-to-clean pans with foil before cooking. Afterwards the foil can be thrown away.

--Use sponges instead of dishcloths for cleaning. These can be pressed flat with your hand to remove excess water, instead of wringing.

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