Holiday Gifts for Arthritis Patients

Assistive devices for arthritis could be great gifts for your loved ones

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

For many patients, arthritis can make it hard to do daily activities like getting dressed, cooking or gardening. Fortunately, there are many tools to help arthritis patients complete such tasks.

With the holidays around the corner, you might be wondering what to get for your loved ones. If your friend or family member has arthritis, an assistive device might make a great gift this holiday season.

The following article briefly outlines some holiday gift ideas for people living with arthritis.

Rub-a-dub-dub: Aids for Bathing

Bathtub Steps
As arthritis can limit mobility, some patients find it hard to get in and out of the bathtub or shower. Bathtub steps can give patients a boost with a non-slip surface, allowing them to safely climb over a bathtub wall, even when wet.

Bath Brush
Joint pain can keep patients from reaching certain parts of their body. A bath brush can help arthritis patients scrub those hard-to-reach spots. Brushes are typically a foot long or more. Some brushes even have soap inserts so patients can apply soap using one side of the brush before scrubbing with the other side.

Under Toe Washer
An under toe washer is a long pole with a sponge at the end. It allows patients to reach and clean their feet without bending over. This device could be a great gift for patients with back arthritis - such as ankylosing spondylitis - or anyone that has balance problems as a result of their arthritis.

Long Handle Hair Washer
Some patients with arthritis have trouble moving their upper extremities, or their arms and hands. A hair washer with a long handle can help these patients apply and scrub shampoo and conditioner into their hair.

Time to Look Sharp: Aids for Getting Dressed

Long Shoehorn
Shoehorns help people easily slide the heel into their shoes. A long shoehorn allows arthritis patients to put on their shoes without bending over.

Sock Aid
A sock aid is a device that helps patients put on their socks without too much effort. A sock is placed around the end of the aid, widening the sock opening. Patients then simply insert their foot into the opened sock.

Zipper and Button Puller
Patients use an easily gripped handle to open and close pincers that can grab zippers and buttons.

One-Handed Belts
These belts require only one hand to fasten, making it easier for patients with hand arthritis to secure their pants.

Easy-Grip Toenail Clippers
These toenail clippers offer large, angled blades and handles that allow patients to keep their hand in a comfortable position. Easy-grip clippers also don't need to be squeezed as hard as normal toenail clippers.

Making a House a Home: Aids Around the House

Grips, Handles and Key Turners
There are many things around the house that we have to turn, twist, push and pull. For most of us, these are easy mechanisms to operate. For arthritis patients, on the other hand, it may not be so easy.

There are many aids available to make it easier to use devices like keys, locks, doorknobs and lamp switches. Most of these aids come in the form of grips or handles. They make it easier to turn a doorknob or gain leverage to open a locked door.

There are even aids that add an angled handle to a paintbrush.

Cook It Up: Aids for the Kitchen

Knives and Utensils
Typically, knives and other utensils have a straight handle that requires patients to bend and twist their joints at different angles to perform certain tasks.

Utensils for arthritis are designed to help patients avoid strenuous joint movement. Many of these utensils have angled handles and easy grips.

Jar Openers
Arthritis or not, some jars seem impossible to open. Jar openers can make it easier to open those stubborn lids.

Jar openers often come in the form of rubber grips that are placed over the jar lid to avoid slipping while turning. Some jar openers look more like clamps that either have a handle or are attached to a surface.

Fun with Flora: Aids for Gardening

Planting Aids
Almost any planting tool you can think of - including trowels, cultivators, forks, hoes and bulb planters - comes in a form designed for arthritis patients. These tools have comfortable grips and a long reach, which helps patients to avoid bending or reaching too much.

Coiled Hose
Unlike traditional hoses, coiled hoses do not require patients to deal with tangled hoses or to delicately wrap the hose back up. Coiled hoses can stretch out to long distances and snap back to an untangled bundle only a few feet long. In addition, coiled hoses tend to be lightweight.

On the Move: Aids for Sitting, Standing and Walking

Canes and Walkers
Canes for patients with arthritis and those with limited mobility come in a variety of designs. There's the traditional cane: a pole with a handle to help patients walk. There are also canes with specific shapes made to help patients get out of bed and off the couch.

Walkers are kind of like super-canes. They have two handles connected to four poles. The two front poles have wheels while the back two have rubber stoppers, giving patients both improved mobility and support.

Car Swivel Seat Cushion
Getting in and out of the care requires a lot of joint movement. A swiveling seat cushion allows arthritis patients to comfortably place their rear on the car seat and turn to get their legs in place.

Where Do I Get This Stuff?

These arthritis aids and similar products can be found in many online stores, including:

  • Aids for Arthritis (
  • Patterson Medical (
  • Oxo ( 
Review Date: 
December 4, 2012