Aging in Place: Home Accessibility Options for Seniors With Arthritis

There are many helpful devices to
make living in ones home eaiser and safer
Elderly persons suffering with arthritis can make aging in place, in their own home, easier and more enjoyable by enhancing accessibility.
A good home designer understands and designs your home with an eye toward the future. They must also be a problem solver giving consumers sound advice about how they can make living in their home easier and more enjoyable. That's why staying current on functionality, design, aging in place assistance, accessibility, and color theory are so important to a designer.

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis
This article is focused on home modifications for seniors affected by arthritis. There are several types of rheumatic diseases, most of which result in limited accessibility. The two most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis share both result in joint pain, discomfort, and joint inflammation but they affect the body differently. Both however, make a number of everyday tasks painful and therefore, more challenging.

                                  Watch the video - how to make a home safer for seniors

To better understands what it feels like to have one of these diseases, envision yourself with a tennis ball in your fist and a large sock over your hand. Consider how you would do normal, everyday tasks like turning on a faucet or running the washing machine. Or something normally simple such as opening up cabinet door? Perhaps you already have to deal with this disease and you want to know what you can do to make things easier.

Three Design Considerations: Safety, Function, Low Maintenance
Dealing with a disease like arthritis can be very difficult. There are steps that can be taken to minimize accessibility obstacles that result from having this disease.

  1. Install lever handles.  Make sure that all doors and faucets have lever handles. Round faucet knobs are hard to turn on and off. Change cabinet hardware to D-shaped handles. Choose appliances with front controls. Remodel the inside of your cabinets to aid navigation by adding pop-up shelves, lazy susans, and pull-out racks.
  2. Address balance issues. In addition to painful joints are balance issues. Installation of grab bars for stability and installing comfort height toilets are helpful.
  3. Low maintenance finish selection. Finish selection should be considered for low maintenance and safety. Will the finishes require sealing or refinishing? Non slip flooring choices are important. With stiff and painful joints, shuffling can create a slip hazard on smooth flooring especially if there is any moisture. Carpets that have low pile are a good choice with firm padding. Another good choice is a commercial style carpet.
Throw rugs are a no-no

Choose hardware and appliances that will make life easier. If you have questions consult a Certified Aging in Place Specialist or a designer with Aging in Place and Universal Design training. Occupational Therapists can also assist you with information.

Dealing with a debilitating disease like arthritis is difficult and painful enough without having to deal with the additional challenges of living in a home that isn’t accessible and functional. Beyond beauty, Safety, function and low maintenance are the keys to good design.

Take some time to review your home design finishes. With an eye to the future and some careful design considerations, you will have a home that you will be able to age safely and comfortably in even if you happen to be afflicted with a debilitating disease like arthritis.

Alesha Churba
By Alesha E. Churba, Allied Member ASID. Design With Your Future in Mind is the subject of Alesha’s articles. She writes insightful blog entries about remodeling and designing a space that will last the test of time. Tips are provided for interior decorating and accessibilities so that seniors can remain in their homes longer. Her content includes articles on flooring choices, bathroom remodeling with suggested toilet heights, types of faucet handles and much, much more. Learn more:

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership is a national direct to consumer retailer and caregiver resource providing support, convenience and old-fashioned customer service to those caring for a loved one. The company’s website provides the largest online library of resources on subjects which are most important to caregivers and offers more than 3000 homecare products. Product specialists answer the phone within three rings and assist in helping customers choose just the right product. The company also offers its patent-pending automatically scheduled delivery service, Never Run OutSM which ships supplies automatically based on need. Many of the accessibility products mentioned here are available at


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