Monday, August 01, 2016

How to garden with bad arthritis in your hands

My grandmother was a wonderful gardener. Her peonies nodded their heavy heads, she grew currants, which with a little sugar, made a memorable dessert, the rhubarb, the vases of flowers--marvelous. Now, I have developed her beautiful silver hair (very techno), but fortunately not her gnarled, painful hands (my arthritis is in my knees).

Leslie Land, on the fun site Next Avenue (check it out), has some workarounds for gardeners with arthritic hands:

--Think of pain free days as money in the bank., This means everything you do on pain free days has a use cost--pet the cat, it may take away from pulling a weed.

--Give yourself a daily allowance. Bake a pie, you can't pick peas.

--Sort tasks into "must be done" and "must be done by me."  Let someone else do the gardening tasks that don't require your artistic "hand."

--Even if you don't have a lot of delegatees, keep a list of tasks for when a likely helper enters the zone.

--Or hire help.  Forget the teenage looking for money--that person is rare these days. You may need to go to TaskRabbit or Craigs.

--Preheat your hands.  In early spring, when the garden is cold, wear rubber gloves and soak in hot water for five mins or use a wax machine.

--Ration hand use by a kitchen timer. Work a certain amount of time--the rest will wait.

--Grab things with your whole hand--not just your fingers, Lift a flowerpot--for example--but support it underneath.

--Keep your tools sharp--less pressure must be applied.

--Take pix with a smartphone--not notes with your hands.

--Bathe your hands in sunshine. Sit for a few minutes.


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