The holidays mark the perfect time to gift someone with arthritis a special something that will make their days a little brighter with arthritis gifts.

Arthritis affects more than 50 million people in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation, making the chances good that you know at least one person with the disorder. Many people think of arthritis as inevitable aches and pains that develop with age. However, pain is not an inevitable part of aging and arthritis does not happen to everyone.

Additionally, not everyone with arthritis is a senior citizen. As many as 300,000 children have the disorder, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and many patients are young people under the age of 65.

What is arthritis?

Rather than one, simple condition, arthritis is the blanket term for a variety of disorders affecting the joints and musculoskeletal system. Common conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disorder, and it’s characterized by the degradation of cartilage around the joints, which can eventually lead to bone rubbing against bone during movement. The condition can be very painful. Its causes aren’t fully understood, but risks include obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that results in painful inflammation and joint damage. It affects about 1.5 million people, mostly women between the ages of 30 and 60.

What is a good gift for someone with arthritis? Although arthritis is not a simple condition, buying a gift for someone with the disorder doesn’t have to be complicated. Consider the person’s interests and contemplate items that may elicit a smile or help them get through the day a little easier.

1. Voice-recognition software

Many people have arthritis that affects their hands, diminishing dexterity and making it difficult to do everyday tasks such as type. Voice-recognition software like Dragon allows people with arthritis to browse the web, compose emails, and create documents without typing or using their hands.

This makes a wonderful gift for budding authors who are perhaps held back by limited mobility in the hands or a businessperson who relies heavily on email for communication.

Computers are ubiquitous and something as simple as voice-recognition software could make a big difference in the life of someone with arthritis.

2. Book rest

For the person with arthritis in your life who loves to read, holding a book can lead to pain in the hands. A book pillow rests in the lap and has a pyramid-shaped, soft top that supports a book. A person can use the pillow while sitting or lying down, making it easy to savor a quiet afternoon absorbed in the words of a favorite author.

Other, hard-surface book holders are available that may work better on a desk or table.

3. Fun, helpful kitchen gadgets

Simplify life for someone with arthritis with automatic kitchen tools. Options range from automatic wine bottle openers to can openers to food processers. Did you know companies also make automatic pepper mills and pot stirrers? These mechanical devices could be a lifesaver for someone with arthritis in the hands.

If the person you know is interested in living a healthy lifestyle, you could purchase a juicer or blender so they can make delicious fruit and vegetables beverages that support an anti-inflammatory diet. A crockpot for slow-cooking meats or making delicious soups and stews could also make an excellent gift.

4. Hot or cold therapy tools

Heat helps people with arthritis find relief from aching joints and muscles. A heating pad makes a wonderful present, perhaps one specially contoured for the neck or with automatic massagers inside. Heated socks could provide cozy warmth during cold winter days.

A cozy blanket might be a welcome present, maybe even a blanket with sleeves that’s wearable and supports optimal warmth when relaxing around the house.

Many people with arthritis also find cold therapy useful for treating acute pain. A high-quality ice pack or ointment for soothing painful areas might make a wonderful gift.

5. Exercise equipment

If the person with arthritis you’re shopping for is looking to start an exercise regimen, help out with a gift to support the endeavor. New workout gear can help keep someone motivated. You might buy the person a pass for classes at the local yoga studio or perhaps a gym membership.

Splurging on a treadmill or other piece of home exercise equipment for an extra special loved one would make exercising easy. Free weights, foam rollers, or home workout DVDs also make for affordable, fun presents that support healthy lifestyle goals.

6. Ergonomic gardening tools

For gardening aficionados with arthritis, joint pain can put a damper on a favorite hobby. Save the day with ergonomic garden tools, such as garden trowels with stick-up handles to make for easy grasping or weed pullers with extra long handles to reduce the need for bending. Kneeling pads provide soft spaces to rest the knees when spending time weeding or planting.

You may also opt to purchase garden accessories, such as a bench to provide a place for sitting and enjoying the gardener’s handiwork. Decorations like birdbaths or stone statues can enhance a garden’s aesthetic and add to the atmosphere.

7. Health-food cookbooks

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a powerful way to help manage arthritis pain. If the person you’re shopping for likes to cook or is working to eat healthier foods, consider buying a cookbook with recipes targeted for arthritis patients.

The Anti-Arthritis, Anti-Inflammation Cookbook offers a collection of meat-free dishes that are high on health and low on inflammatory sugars and fats. Another option, Eating Well to Fight Arthritis, is geared to the mainstream eater who just wants simple, easy-to-make recipes for living a healthy life.

Other cookbooks/lifestyle books that might support a journey into health include those with recipes for juicing or smoothies. The book Superfood Smoothies offers 100 creative recipes sure to help smoothie chefs sneak greens and other antioxidant-rich ingredients into delicious beverages that support health.

What do you plan to buy for the person on your list with arthritis?

Image by Katherine via Flickr

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