Home sweet home means so much more when you find yourself confined to it. During a recent confinement of my own, I got bored and paged through my husband’s Family Handyman magazine. (It’s a hobby of mine to tear out projects I want him to do. His hobby to ignore my hobby.)
Anyway, there was an article about aging and adapting your home for comfort and safety. Since arthritis and autoimmune disease go together like peanut butter and jelly, I thought these tips could be helpful. (Don’t forget to print this list for the handy-person in your life to ignore!)
1) Replace toggle light switches with rocker switches. The big on/off plate of a rocker switch can be easier for arthritic hands—you can operate it with a finger, knuckle—even your elbow.
2) Replace cabinet knobs with handles. The writer suggests replacing small knobs with C- or D-shaped pulls for easy opening.
3) Raise your washer and dryer to save your back/knees. They suggest purchasing a pedestal that raises them by 12-15 inches (or ask your handy-person to build one—directions can be found at family-handyman.com).
4) Place convenient resting spots. If you have a lot of steps in your house or long hallways, place a bench or chair nearby (ensuring it’s not a tripping hazard!).
5) Replace doorknobs with levers. When you’ve lost dexterity in your hands, it’s far easier to push down on a lever than it is to twist a knob.
6) Considering a kitchen remodel? Think about installing such items as rollout drawers, a shallow sink, appliances with touch-pad controls, and maximize drawer storage over upper cabinetry.
7) If you ever find yourself wheelchair bound, you can widen your doorways by installing offset hinges.
8) Install “invisible” grab bars. I’m far too vain to install a traditional grab bar (I’m not even 40 yet!). But I have to admit, there have been times I could have used a little extra leverage. The article says there are many options for stylish, sturdy bars. Check out the Invisia Collection or google “designer grab bars.”
Bonus Tip! The article presented a brilliant way to help someone who doesn’t have arthritis know how it limits your mobility. Says writer Louis Tenenbaum, “Hold a tennis ball in the palm of your hand inside a sock. Now walk around and try to manipulate the switches, doorknobs, and cabinet pulls in your house.”
Do you have any tips for making your home more comfortable? Share them in a comment below.