Empowering Independence: The Benefits of Assistive Devices for Arthritis

October 2023

Arthritis can present significant challenges in daily life, affecting people's ability to perform even the simplest tasks.

However, there's a wide range of assistive devices available that can make a world of difference for people living with arthritis.

In this article, we'll explore what assistive devices are, discuss their benefits, and highlight some common examples.

What Are Assistive Devices?

Assistive devices are tools or gadgets designed to enhance the independence and quality of life for people with physical limitations or disabilities, including arthritis.

These devices are created to aid in everyday tasks that might otherwise be challenging or painful for someone with arthritis.

From ergonomic utensils and jar openers to canes, walkers, and even specialised computer keyboards, assistive devices provide crucial support by reducing strain on joints, reducing pain, and promoting mobility.

By reducing the impact of arthritis on daily activities, assistive devices help people perform day-to-day tasks more easily and promote both physical and emotional wellbeing.

Assistive devices can be a lifeline for people with arthritis, providing support and enhancing their quality of life.

The Benefits of Assistive Devices for Arthritis

#1. Increased Independence

Perhaps the most significant benefit of assistive devices is that they can allow people to keep their independence. Assistive devices may allow people to carry out tasks that might otherwise be challenging or impossible due to arthritis-related limitations.

#2. Pain Reduction

Assistive devices can minimise the strain on joints with arthritis, as well as reducing pain and discomfort. It can make walking easier, as well as performing daily tasks.

Some examples include ergonomic chairs, cushions, and orthopedic mattresses, these can provide comfort and pain relief, especially during long periods of sitting or sleeping.

#3. Improved Safety

Many assistive devices are designed with safety in mind. They can help prevent accidents and falls, particularly in older adults with arthritis, who may be at a higher risk of injuries.

Some examples are, installing handrails in bathrooms or ramps at entrances, these can make the home safer and more accessible for those with arthritis.

#4. Improved Quality of Life

By making daily tasks more manageable, assistive devices can significantly improve people's overall quality of life. They can allow people to engage in activities they enjoy and maintain their independence.

Some examples can include, adaptive clothing where clothing may have easy fasteners and larger buttons which make getting dressed simpler and less painful. As well as specialised tools like jar openers, buttonhooks, or adapted utensils - these can make daily tasks easier and reduce strain on arthritic joints.

Common Assistive Devices for Arthritis

#1. Canes 

Canes provide extra stability and support while walking. They can reduce the strain on hip, knee, feet and ankle joints. Different types of canes are available, including single-point canes and quad canes with four tips for added stability.

#2. Walkers

Walkers offer even more stability than canes and are ideal for those with significant balance issues or joint pain. Some models come with built-in seats for resting when needed.

#3. Grab Bars

Installed in bathrooms and other areas prone to slips and falls, grab bars provide a secure handhold for getting in and out of the bathtub, shower or toilet and moving around the bathroom.

#4. Ergonomic Utensils

These specialised utensils have comfortable, easy-to-grip handles, making mealtime more manageable for people with arthritis in their hands.

#5. Jar and Bottle Openers

These devices are designed to provide a better grip, allowing individuals to open containers and jars with less effort.

#6. Reacher Grabbers

Reacher grabbers have extended arms with a gripping mechanism at the end. They help people grab objects from high shelves or pick up items from the floor without bending down.

#7. Adaptive Clothing

Adaptive clothing includes garments with features like Velcro closures or magnetic buttons, making it easier for those with limited movement in their fingers and hands to dress independently.

#8. Key Turners

Key turners provide a larger, more comfortable grip for turning keys, which can be especially helpful for people with hand and finger arthritis.

#9. Electric Can Openers

Electric can openers automate the task of opening cans, reducing strain on the hands, fingers and wrists.

#10. Stair lifts and Elevators

For those with arthritis-related mobility challenges, stair lifts and home elevators can be installed to help with movement between different levels of the home.

#11. Fall Alarms

These devices can alert caregivers or emergency services in case of a fall, making sure there is a prompt response to any accidents.

Assistive devices are invaluable tools for people living with arthritis. They offer a path to increased independence, pain reduction, safety, and an improved overall quality of life.

The wide range of assistive devices available means that there's likely a solution to address nearly any arthritis-related challenge.

Consulting with healthcare professionals or occupational therapists can help determine the most suitable assistive devices to meet individual needs, allowing people to navigate life with greater ease and confidence.

How Arthritis Queensland can help


Always talk to your doctor and/or health professional before starting an exercise program. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can suggest safe exercises and make sure you are doing your exercises correctly.

You can make a difference by supporting the work of Arthritis Queensland. Arthritis Queensland is 95% community funded. We rely on our generous donors and volunteers to ensure that we can continue to provide solutions and support to adults and children living with the pain of arthritis.