Ways to Adapt Your Home for Psoriatic Arthritis

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: August 2022

Many homes have design elements that make daily living more difficult for people with chronic health conditions like arthritis. Cabinets may be hard to reach or toilets may be too high, for example. With psoriatic arthritis (PsA), joint pain and stiffness are often a daily obstacle. By modifying your home, you can help protect your joints and make daily tasks easier or more efficient.1-3

The changes you make will depend on your mobility and how advanced your PsA is. For some people, bending down is difficult. For others whose hands are most affected, turning door handles and sink faucets might be painful.1,2

Many changes do not have to be expensive. If you live with psoriatic arthritis, consider the following changes to make your home safer and more functional.1,2

Modify the bathroom for safety

Bars or handrails added to tubs and showers make it easier to get in and out. Tub chairs or benches enable sitting in the bathtub. You can purchase a raised toilet seat or install grab bars near the toilet so it is easier to sit down and stand up.1,2

To avoid slipping, place non-skid mats or decals in the bathtub and around the sink and toilet. Faucet levers or tap turners are available for people who have difficulty gripping.1,2

Invest in easy-to-use kitchen appliances

Many kitchen items can be modified to make food preparation easier. These include:1,2

  • Electric can openers
  • Food processors
  • Mandolins for slicing
  • Utensils with larger handles or grips
  • Rubber jar openers for extra grip

Here are some other tips and strategies to make your kitchen PsA-friendly:1,2

  • Opt for lighter pots and pans instead of heavy ones that are hard to lift.
  • Store frequently used items and dishes within easy reach.
  • Use long-handled reachers with a gripper to retrieve items from high or low cabinets.
  • Modify cabinet handles so they are easier to open.
  • Purchase easy-grip utensils.

Ensure floors are clutter-free

Walkways should be clear of clutter, electrical cords, and kids’ toys so you will not stumble or fall. Move furniture out of pathways as well. If you have area rugs, place non-skid pads underneath them so they do not move.1,2

Install railings on steps and stairs

Any steps or stairs in and around the house should have sturdy railings or banisters to grasp. If climbing steps is hard on your knees, consider replacing outdoor steps leading into the home with a ramp to make entry easier.1

Use assistive devices for everyday tasks

Swollen, painful joints can make it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks. There are many assistive devices that can make daily activities easier and less painful.1,2

Button aids and zipper pulls make fastening clothing easier, especially if the joints in the hands and fingers are affected by PsA. Clothing with VELCRO® instead of zippers can also be helpful. Long-handled shoe horns make it easier to put shoes on without bending.1

Seek professional help

Occupational therapists work with people with PsA and other illnesses to help them do everyday tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, and work activities. They may suggest changes to the environment, the task itself, or the skills needed to do the task.2

Look for an occupational therapist who specializes in adapting homes for people with chronic conditions. For example, look for a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) or someone with a Specialty Certification in Environmental Modification (SCEM). Ask your doctor for a referral.2

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