I’m currently staying at our house in Lorain, OH. It’s a sweet little Cape Cod style home, built around 1900. Although the bathrooms and kitchen have been modernized, and the property has been rehabbed, it has been restored without overly affecting its historic character.
The beauty of an old home like this is that it is designed to passively keep the home at a comfortable temperature, through such means as:
Smaller rooms, with doors between many of the room that can be shut to reduce the need to heat all rooms.
Enclosed porches, with overhanging roofs that both protect against excessive heat in the summer, as well as direct rain and snow away from the main part of the house.
Reduced heat loss, by use of multiple stories. Heat generated during the day also heats the bedrooms for comfortable sleeping at night.
Thick plaster walls, which slow the heat loss in winter, and the entry of heat in the summer.
Basements, which allow long-term storage of root vegetables and canned goods. The family room in the basement is comfortable even in the hottest months.
I picked the home both for its reasonable price, as well as its location in the Lakefront area of the city. I’m only a few short blocks away from the historic shopping district, the main bridge across the Black River, and Lakeview Park.
The fact that 3 of the bedrooms are on the first floor, as well as 2 bathrooms, was also a major selling point. There are steps in both the front entrance and the deck leading to the back door, but they are manageable, with the assistance of a cane. Only the laundry area and the family room in the basement necessitate taking stairs (other than a guest bedroom and bath setup in the attic).
So, although it is a multistory home, it’s one that I can use to age in place.
I’ve had some fun with decorating; I still need some living room and family room seating, but the basics are there. I just took delivery of some thermally-insulated curtains for the sunroom; I’m still waiting on the heavier curtain rods needed to hold up the the extra weight.
My RA has been a challenge. The colder weather has caused some flare-ups, which (cross your fingers) seems to have settled down for now.
I spent a fair amount of time making sure that I built up my leg strength to be able to handle the stairs. I practiced getting up from the floor, and am confident that I could handle it, should I trip or fall. I am walking more than before. In a month or two, I will take possession of my daughter’s aging Shih Tzu, as her new living situation will not allow her to keep him. The need to walk him will add to my mobility, and he is small enough for me to handle.
I’m still taking the HCQ, but I’m substituting Tylenol Arthritis Strength for the Mobic twice a week. My doctor thought it would be potentially less damaging to my liver. Having seen my brother’s difficulty handling liver damage, I’m anxious to avoid the same fate.
I’ve had to manage many chores, including lawn care, taking out the garbage, getting groceries and supplies and hauling them inside, and other necessary tasks. My foldable cane has gotten a real workout; it’s both handy and lightweight. The short stepstool has also helped. Many of the kitchen cupboards are too high to reach without it (the ones at the very top can’t be managed without the taller ladder). After using it for a few months, I’m more confident about handling such tasks.
One very helpful assist with both mobility and pain and stiffness reduction has been my fingerless gloves, with compression.
These are both useful for keeping my hands warmer, and also for reducing that achy feeling.