Carrying anything creates two problems for my arthritic hands: The weight of the item hurts my joints, and gripping the item so I don't drop it also hurts. This leads to arthritis hand pain and swelling.
One day, I decided I was going to find a purse that I could easily carry, and I did. The perfect purse for avoiding arthritis pain in my hands and shoulders is:
small (doesn't hold much and doesn't weigh much, so doesn't get heavy),
shallow depth with a wide opening(I can see everything inside all the way down to the bottom so I don't have to dig through it with my sensitive hands to locate something),
cloth (relatively lightweight. Of course, I Scotchguarded it when I got home.),
has a short strap (not a shoulder strap which puts weight on my shoulder joints. With a short strap, I can hold it with my forearm, 1950s-style.), and
magnetic closure (easy to open so I can open and close without fine motor skills).
I really enjoyed that purse for a long time. Then one evening, on a business trip, I saw a straw bag of such a happy turquoise color that I had to have it. I was surprised at how lightweight straw bags are. I saw that it was deep and made a mental note not to let myself fill it up so that it would not become too heavy. It doesn't help to have a lightweight purse if it's chock-full of heavy things!
My doctors had gotten the arthritis in my shoulder pretty much under control, so I was surprised recently when one shoulder started hurting again. I hadn't overdone any activities using my shoulder, so I couldn't understand it. I complained to my doctor that it had been hurting for maybe 2 weeks. While checking out, I reached into the straw bag for my insurance card, and when I returned the strap to my shoulder â PAIN! I realized it had been about 2 1/2 weeks since my business trip â that meant my shoulder had been hurting since shortly after I made the change from a short-strapped purse to a shoulder purse.
I asked myself if the strap type was all that was different and might have caused the pain . I realized that my bag was FULL of things. I didn't even know what all was in there because it hurt my hands to rummage through all the stuff! When I got home I started at the top and took out everything that wasn't absolutely necessary. I picked up the bag, expecting it to be as light as a feather since it was practically empty except for various cards, some cash, and eyedrops. Instead, it was as heavy as before. I held it open under a lamp so I could see all the way to the bottom. The weight was due to a 2" layer of coins in the bottom of the bag. I had been throwing my change in the purse as I got it, but since it was so deep, I didn't dig down to find the change to spend it as I had done with my previous shallow purse.
Now, I put change in my pockets until I get home so it doesn't accumulate at the bottom of my purse, then put it in a piggy bank.
P.S. What to do with all that change? The Chinese Restaurant around the corner loves for me to bring my piggy and pay my dinner in change and exchange the rest of my coins for bills, because it saves them a trip to the bank! Both Home Depot and WalMart near me have self-checkout stations. I can bring the piggy there, deposit the coins first, then pay for the rest with credit, debit, or cash.