Is your house comfortable? Does it “work” for you or does it suit how it’s built? Whether you are a baby boomer dealing with the realities of aging, a new mom with full hands, or someone with a physical disability, there are simple and inexpensive ways to make your home more comfortable and functional. Here are some ideas:
Throughout the house, swap door knobs for door handles. It’s very simple and inexpensive to swap out a doorknob for a crowbar, but if you have arthritis or weak hands, turning a doorknob can be very painful, if not impossible. Also, if you are a new mom and have a baby in your arms, it is much more difficult to turn that knob. Maybe you just have your arms full of food and it’s hard to turn that knob. Can you imagine if you have severe arthritis in your hands and just walking around your house and every time you knock on the doors it hurts? If you replaced that knob with a lever, you can tap it with an elbow. The arthritis problem and all the others are gone.
In your bathroom there are several things you can do. One is to install handlebars in the shower or near the toilet. This is great if you have weak knees. I have a client who had a Roman bathtub and was afraid to change it for a shower because she did not want to lose the value of the house. I asked him, “What is the value of knee surgery? You will hit your knee with it every day.” He changed into a shower. He didn’t have to hit his knee every day to get into the shower.
You can also fit a seat and a handheld sprayer in the shower. You can go to a home improvement store and buy a seat for as little as $ 20 and a handheld sprayer for another $ 20. This allows you to sit in the shower and shampoo your hair or shave your legs. If you have weak knees, that takes the stress out of them. If you are having trouble feeling lightheaded or dizzy while standing, this would eliminate the problem.
The shower or bath floor can often be a hazard in itself. With all the soap and water it becomes slippery and can quickly lose your balance. There are several solutions for this, from quick and easy to a little more expensive. We’ve all seen those little stickers you put on the bottom of the tub. Put them on, it’s a cheap solution! If you are redoing your shower, you should use smaller tiles on the floor. It will cost a bit more to make this tile smaller, but if you use one or two inch tiles on the floor, all that extra grout will give you extra grip.
You may think that the kitchen is an area that would not be easy to change. Is not true! The easy solution is to change your sink handle to a one handle design. The two-knob design poses the same problem as the door knob. It will be easier for someone who has arthritis or just has their hands full with a new baby to be able to use one tap to control the faucet. Going one step further, I just saw in a showroom that they have a brand new faucet and you can touch it anywhere on the faucet to turn it on or off.
Another thing is to make sure the cabinet handles are low enough that you can reach them. I’m only 5’2 “tall, so half of my upper closet space is wasted as far as I’m concerned because I can’t reach it. If you’re in a wheelchair, you need to make sure you have plenty of lower closet space. so you can go out and cook.
Here are some simple and inexpensive solutions to make your home more comfortable.