Designing Your Kitchen To Accommodate Lupus

Lupus is a an autoimmune disease that can make some normal daily tasks more challenging. Lupus manifests itself differently to different people, but if you have lupus, you will probably have some common symptoms, including fatigue, reduced motor skills, and sensitivity to cold and light. Some people with lupus also have more trouble with memory and thought patterns. However, you should still be able to manage the condition with some basic changes to your house, along with whatever medications your doctor recommends. These changes to your home will make it easier for you to get through the day.

1. Make everything accessible.

You should start by making sure that your kitchen works with you instead of against you. In most kitchens, the cabinets include upper and lower varieties, usually requiring some tip-toe action or a stool in order to reach the higher shelves. If you are planning on redesigning your kitchen to help with your symptoms:

  • eliminate the need for upper cabinets. You may have trouble climbing a stool or maintaining your balance on your tip toes. Instead, have your contractor keep the counters open, and only use lower cabinets for your needs. In order to account for the lack of storage that eliminating uppers creates, choose to have some deep pantries installed, as well as some open shelves. 
  • make lower shelves easy to access. For example, pot drawers pull out from a lower cabinet, reducing your need to crouch in order to get at your dishes. Another addition that helps with accessing your cupboards include installing a Lazy Susan for a corner cabinet. 
  • consider a lower counter height. If you still want to be able to prepare meals, but find that a standard counter makes your arms tired, consider having a lower countertop installed on a section of your kitchen workspace. This way, you can use your body weight to knead bread or chop an onion, instead of relying on just your arm strength. 

2. Choose optimal flooring for your whole home.

Part of renovating the kitchen (and other areas of your home) means replacing the floors. Instead of having flooring change in between rooms, form carpet to tile to hardwood, for instance, it's better to choose just one flooring type for your whole house. Some people with lupus struggle to pick up their feet, and small changes in fluidity like finishing bars between rug and wood can actually become tripping hazards. Usually, the best type of floor to choose is wood or laminate, as it looks good in every room. There are also tiles that are designed to look like wood which can extend from the living space into the bathroom. 

Because cold weather can also make lupus symptoms more painful and further the limitations on mobility, you can also put in a heating system for your floors. This way, your feet will not freeze as you prepare your meals in your kitchen. If you extend the heating system throughout the house, you will never have to experience increased pain in your feet because of cold floors. 

3. Keep Things Organized

Lupus attacks the nervous system, which can often lead to episodes of confusion, memory loss, or trouble with concentration. People with this condition often find that this limitation is more easily managed when the kitchen area is intuitively organized. Ask your kitchen renovation contractor about color-coding doors or interiors, in order to help with memory. For example, a blue door in the kitchen could be dishes, while a green door could be pots and pans. Also, decorative labels can be placed on cabinet doors and shelves to help you and your family members to remember to put things back in the same place each time.