Things in My Arthritis-Friendly Home That Just Make Sense
Last updated: March 2023
When I started house hunting in the fall, I had a dream starter home in mind. Nothing fancy, but I was attracted to ranches, so I wouldn't have to deal with flights of stairs.
I knew better than being too picky in this market, but as someone with psoriatic arthritis, I wanted a house that worked with my limitations (stairs can be a big challenge during flares).
Feeling grateful for our new home!
When we found our home, it was two levels, with laundry in the basement. While it didn't fit my perfect vision, I fell in love with my house anyway and went to work cleaning, decorating, and, most importantly, making arthritis-friendly updates.
When I first walked in, I already had a vision of how I'd like everything. But over time, I realized several things that came with the house that I considered changing before are quite helpful from an arthritis point of view. While these items weren't in my original plans, they quickly grew on me, and now I can't picture my home without them!
I was surprised that all the doors had lever-style handles rather than knobs. But I quickly found I preferred them! People don't realize how painful opening a door with a traditional knob can be for someone with arthritis.
When you think about the steps, it makes sense. You have to get a good grip on the (usually small, hard) handle, turn it, and push/pull. It's a lot of work! You can use the back of your hand, your forearm, or your elbow to push the lever down.
I thought the short doors were a little odd until I realized having the doors raised ever so slightly to avoid dragging on the carpet is even better - usually, the door will swing right open.
My feet are constantly aching. PsA is a gift that keeps on giving - so when it's not joint pain, it's heel pain from enthesitis. For years, I've learned only to buy shoes with a soft sole to cushion the impact of each step.
So while I had visions of eventually installing hardwood floors, the soft wall-to-wall carpets in almost every room quickly won my heart.
Having high pile carpeting has been my saving grace. I can walk around my home without slippers, though I will put them on if I need an extra cushion. It's been so helpful that I placed a shag carpet with a foam base on the concrete floor in the laundry area.
Bar in the shower.
I hate to admit this, but I was a little too excited to pull back the shower curtain and find a small bar in the bathtub. When my hips and feet are aching, it helps to have something to hold onto and slowly step into the tub. It's also good to hold onto for support and when I deal with dizziness.
While it might be a little out of place in the home of near newlyweds in their twenties, the bar is here to stay. And has made me consider adding in additional bathroom features such as a seat, which was something I had in my handicap dorm in college and loved.
There are many other small things throughout the home that have helped, too. I love the flat light switches - they're so easy to switch on and off, even when your hands hurt.
I also love the huge closets we have! We have more space to hang clothes, which means less folding and ironing.
But there's still work to be done for a psoriatic arthritis friendly home!
Of course, not everything in our home is perfect - yet. The knobs used on all the cabinets and drawers are too small for comfort and will eventually be replaced with large handles. The trigger on the kitchen sprayer is too small and requires a tight grip.
We have our work cut out for us! But I'm sure over the years, we'll discover lots of unique ways to make our home arthritis-friendly. What home improvements have made your home arthritis-friendly?
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