Is your home comfortable? Does it “work” for you or do you adapt to how it’s built? Whether you are a baby boomer facing the realities of aging, a new mom with her hands full, or someone with a physical disability there are simple, economical ways to make your home more comfortable and functional. Here are a few ideas:
Through out the house change Door Knobs to Door Levers. It is so simple and inexpensive to change a door knob to a door lever but if you have arthritis or weak hands turning a door knob can be very painful if not impossible. Also if you are a new mom and have a baby in your arms, it’s a lot harder to turn that knob. Maybe you just have your arms full of groceries and it is hard to turn that knob. Can you imagine if you’ve got bad arthritis in your hands and just walking through your house and every time you touch the doors it hurts? If you replaced that knob with a lever you can touch it with an elbow. The arthritis issue and all the others are gone.
In your bathroom there are several things you can do. One is to install handlebars in your shower or near the toilet. This is great if you have weak knees. I have a client who had a roman tub and she was afraid to change that to a shower because she did not want to lose the value of the house. I asked her, “What is the value of knee surgery? You’re going to be hitting your knee on that everyday.” She changed to a shower. She didn’t have to hit her knee on it everyday to get her feet in the shower.
You may also want to put a seat and a hand held spray in the shower. You can go to a home improvement store and buy a seat for as cheap as $20 and a handheld sprayer for another $20. This enables you to sit in the shower and shampoo your hair or shave your legs. If you have weak knees, it takes the stress off of them. If you have problems feeling light headed or dizzy when standing, this would eliminate the problem.
The shower or bathroom floor can often be a hazard itself. With all the water and soap it gets slippery and you can quickly get off balance. There are several fixes for this from quick and easy to a little more costly. We’ve all seen those little decals that you put on the bottom of the bath tub. Put those on – it’s a cheap fix! If you are redoing your shower, you should use smaller tile on the floor. It will cost a little more to do this smaller tile, but if you use one or two inch tile on the floor all that extra grout is going to give you extra gripping.
You may think the kitchen is an area it would not be easy to change. Not true! The easy fix is to switch the handle on your sink to a one handle design. The two knob design brings up the same issue as the door knob. It’s going to be easier on somebody who has arthritis or just has their hands full with a new baby to be able to use a touch to control the faucet. Taking it a step further, I just saw at a showroom they have a brand new faucet out and you can touch it anywhere on the faucet to turn it on or off!
Another thing is to make sure that your handles on your cupboards are low enough so that you can reach them. I am only 5’2″ so half of my upper cupboard space is wasted as far as I am concerned because I can’t reach it. If you are in a wheelchair, you need to make sure that you have a lot of lower cupboard space so that you can get out there and cook.
These are a few simple, inexpensive fixes to make your home more comfortable.