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Assistive devices come in all shapes and sizes.  My newest one, which is being delivered on Friday, is 28.0 cubic feet. It comes with a neat dispenser on the front that will give you filtered water and your choice of cubed or crushed ice.

That’s right, my newest assistive device is disguised as a refrigerator.

I have a perfectly good refrigerator at home. Actually, I have two, one is in the kitchen and one is in the garage. These refrigerators are basically the same model of refrigerator I’ve lived with my entire life — the freezer on top, the refrigerator below.  I’ve never had a problem with them. I’ve always found them quite usable and normally more cost-effective than the fancier side-by-side or other variations.

However, recently — whether it’s because of my shoulder problems or I’m having more arthritis issues in my back — it’s extremely painful to bend over and reach into the refrigerator to get something out. And as far as hunching down to get something off that bottom shelf or to clean it — forget it.

So Friday, I get a new assistive appliance that has the refrigerator on top — no more bending and stretching — and a lower freezer that rolls out like a drawer — which also minimizes a painful reach.

I used the same logic recently when it started being more costly to repair my old washer and dryer than to replace them. The real kicker was that it killed my back pulling clothes in and out of the front-loading dryer. When I picked out the new appliances, I opted for a new high-efficiency front-loader set and I sprang the extra $$$ for the pedestals, that raise the machines up to about chest height, eliminating the need for reaching and stooping.

Granted, washers, dryers, and refrigerators don’t seem like assistive devices any more than my Kindle with its cool little font-size button (eliminating the need for reading glasses). However, as all of us with RA move through life and make major purchase decisions — beds, chairs, appliances, automobiles, etc. – we need to take into consideration not only their form and function, but what impact (good and bad) these everyday items will have on our life and health.  Buying something that hurts to use it is not a good idea. Spending a bit more that makes your life easier and places less stress on the joints and muscles that hurt, is a wise decision — particularly over the long term when those bits and parts will undoubtably hurt more rather than less. I suspect my new refrigerator will probably outlast some of my joints (and that’s a sad thought!).

Now all I have to do is figure out if having a refrigerator as an assistive device qualifies me for one of those handy handicapped parking stickers. Hmmm……

I hope that whatever assistance you need in your day comes with a smile. Thanks for checking in.

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