Creating A Psoriatic Arthritis Compatible Home One Room at A Time
Home should be a place of comfort. It should be a place where one feels safe - full of creature comforts when managing life through a flare. Safe from pain isn't a realistic option, but safe from potential triggers can be.
After spending the better part of 2020 and 2021 in bed due to another chronic illness, I realized that my home was not compatible with my conditions, including psoriatic arthritis.
Compatibility is important
Sure, it was accessible, but as I am learning, there is so much more to having a home that doesn’t increase my pain and fatigue. With that in mind, I entered 2022 intending to make my home psoriatic arthritis compatible.
Luckily, everything I change to meet my PsA needs also meets the needs of my other chronic illnesses.
Small adjustments that work for me
My home is accessible enough for my needs. I don’t have stairs, so there is no worry about falling up or down them. My husband installed a safety bar in the bathtub, and I have a bath chair for taking showers.
I have strategically placed our furniture to provide room for a mobility aid when I need to use one in the house. I have a stool in the kitchen to rest my joints while cooking or washing dishes. While these things offer safety, they are not enough.
For example, having a bath chair is useless if I have to stand up or stretch to reach the soap, shampoo, or razor. I could slip, pull a muscle, or dislocate a joint. To make shower time psoriatic arthritis-friendly, I have placed those items on shelves and hooks that can be easily reached while seated.
Creating a compatible home means having items where I need them when I need them. It eliminates extra steps to complete a task. I have lost count of the number of times I‘ve gotten into the shower and realized I have forgotten to bring in a washcloth or towel.
A remarkable change
Just bending over can be a terrifying experience for my back. Each time I did this, I risked falling. Leaving the tub while soaking wet and then having to bend down to retrieve a towel was a recipe for disaster. I have slipped discs and spent weeks healing from a straightforward bend in bed.
To solve this issue, I have hung a closet organizer with shelves from the shower curtain bar at the back end of my tub and used the shelves to store my clean towels and washcloths. They are easy to reach, I don’t have to worry about stepping out, and I can easily see when I am running low and need to do laundry!
It took a couple of months, but I completed my first psoriatic arthritis compatibility project, which was the master bathroom. And let me tell you, the difference it is making is remarkable.
Everything I use and need is within reach of where I use it. Instead of stressing about showers or baths, I look forward to them. I no longer drive myself mad trying to remember which cupboard or container I stored something in.
One small change that made a big difference
One modification that I didn’t realize I needed was solved with one simple and inexpensive product. My home is small and doesn’t have a large luxurious master bath. I would guess that it is smaller than the guest baths in most newer homes.
This lack of space left me without a vanity area to do my hair and makeup. Until now, I have been doing it in front of the sink. Because there wasn’t enough flat counter space to place my makeup and hair tools, they would roll around the sink basin.
The modification that solved the issue was a serving tray with handles. Handles were necessary because I needed to hang the tray when not used. But when I am ready to do hair and makeup, I remove it from the wall and place it over the sink.
Voila! No more foundation spilling or curling irons rolling in the sink or off the countertop! Less clean-up and bending to pick items off the floor make this a PsA-compatible modification.
From one room to another...
These are just a few of my changes to my master bathroom. It was a little overwhelming at first, but once I got started, it became easy to spot placements of things that created pain and added to my fatigue.
My next project is the kitchen! What changes or modifications have you made to make your home psoriatic arthritis compatible?
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