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Should I buy house with stairs?

Help! Will I ever be able to manage stairs or should I be living in ground floor flat? I'm being offered a house with stairs and need to snap it up or it'll be gone. I'm 50 and going through a lupus diagnosis after years of sun rashes, exhaustion and agonising joint pain. Punch biopsy and ana showed lupus. My first visit to Louise Coote unit is October and then more tests to see if it's systemic, then treatment. Will treatment mean I nevr have to worry about stairs? Or is that a fantasy? I live in ground floor flat and shuffle room to room doing chores in summer, stride around happily in winter. Stairs can be difficult or even impossible during a flare as my hips are either in agony, or frozen. Any answers gratefully received as I need to reject or accept offer quick.

11 Replies

Hi! I was diagnosed with lupus in 2004. I was prescribed hydroxychloroquine, which kept me well for 8 years with an occasional flare. However 2 years ago my lupus progressed and now is still not under control. My hips make climbing stairs near impossible and I moved from a house to a bungalow last year. This was the best thing I could have done and it makes life a lot easier. It will depend how you respond to medication but as moving can be very stressful I think you have to consider that if your hips are still painful you will have to move again in the future. Good luck with your decision :)


As you say you are considering buying, you have some control over your choices. Just because you are having difficulty with stairs during flares it doesnt necessarily mean it will always be the case.

But in order to take into account potential future needs, maybe you need to at least think whether the staircase could be adapted with a stair lift.

If the answer is yes and if there are enough other positives for the house then you should not, in my opinion, let a fear of the unknown sway your decision.


Selling a property and buying a new one is one, if not the most, stressful things that we ever do in our lives. Having to do this when unwell takes an even greater toll. This is one factor that I think you may consider adding to your against column. Regard Rib


Frankly, being 50, I wouldn't buy something with stairs. My brother lives in Colorado and climbing the stairs in his house is like climbing a mountain. I think I pulled the railing out of the wall getting from the basement to the first floor and I was taking prednisone. I'm 61 now.


Thank you. As I suspected, treatment won't guarantee anything. Part of me is optimistic, the other has to admit that even in non flare mode, my normally strong, agile limbs feel like they're dragging through heavy water when climbing stairs.

A stair lift is a good idea, but I don't want to rely on one what with my energetic young child tearing the place up, me trying to follow him up and down the stairs at a sedate pace strapped into the chair just to try to get him into bed every night . . .no thanks! Shuffling on crutches on one level can be painful but quicker. Guess I'll be looking for a flat or bungalow then, and as I said they're rare beasts in this neck of the woods. On a lighter note, AnnNY's brother's railing being pulled out of the wall did make me laugh, for some reason it was the "I think" part that did it for me, as if she wasn't quite sure. This illness certainly has its inadvertently slapstick moments!



Its a tough one to decide. Also comes down to your personal options.

I am lucky that I have a downstairs bathroom but without that things would be slot harder. For many this wouldn't matter, but by sounds would benefit you. Sorry, babbling. Trying to say... consider a downstairs bathroom as a consideration in your home choice. If there isn't one then is there the option to put in? Cost etc always a consideration too generally.

Can I ask what your sun rashes are like please. I am CFS/ME and FM diagnosed but seem to have Lupus symptoms. Suffered for years with extreme sun rashes, and ordinarily some faint dashing over brow of nose/face. First ANA ok, gp doing another.



I am 67 and was offered a bungalow when I was 50 and turned it down as I thought others needed it more. BIG mistake. I am in my own 4 bed house that I have to pay someone to keep it clean for me, I had no idea I would get like this so young. STAY in a Flat if you on the ground where you will be safe and will not need chair lifts etc. I have fallen downstairs this year and cracked my ribs, I though I was holding on tight and my 'grip' just gave way. If you can stay in a Ground floor flat, you have to think about things like going to the Loo ! up and down stairs, not a good idea. SNAP their

hand off today and enjoy your new home.xx


There is always some fear or intrepidation of things unknown.

Bungalows are often in low lying areas such as many that have been affected by flooding in recent years. Having an upstairs could be an alternative form of insurance.

Just saying. Theres no one simple answer and where one thing may sway one persons decision another may have different opinions. I do think the possibility for a downstairs bathroom is wise though.


We chose to take a house with stairs despite mum having severe lymphoedema and me with severe connective tissue diseases but what we did was buy a day bed that looks like a sofa but it's ideal to sleep on if either of us are unable yo make it upstairs. neither of us are ready to give in to our illnesses so just find alternatives for the ' just in case' days.

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Every case of lupus is different I moved house last year which then snowballed a chain of events which resulted in a diagnosis of lupus aps and rheumatoid arthritis, I live in a house with stairs and as I also suffer from epilepsy the location of the house for my support network is perfect, the stairs are a struggle practically on a daily basis I have had an additional handrail fitted to the stairs which is a massive help, my landlord who is a brilliant man has said he would fund the fitting of a downstairs toilet which would make my life so much easier, if this happens it will combat the trouble if managing the stairs all the time so realistically just coming down them on a morning and back up to go to bed on a night time, I think sooner or later I will have to admit defeat and move into a bungalow, luckily I live in rented accommodation so that should be relatively easy to do, in my personal circumstances if buying I would invest in a large bungalow to cut out the experience of needing to move at an older age and give myself time to settle in - that's just me and as I said every person with lupus experiences different levels of the illness and what works for one may not be relevant to the other

Hope this helps

Take care


Thanks, all these comments have helped a lot. Much more than any doctor. I will update when we get somewhere to live and if I get a more illuminating prognosis re stairs!

Re my sun rashes and symptoms for Jellynpain. They've changed over the years! Age 33: hair thinning and exhaustion and positive ana. Told this was nothing. Age 36: first sun rash diagnosed as polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), so itchy I could have torn my own skin off. Diffuse and barely visible, the rash took the entire skin cell cycle of a month to clear. Avoided sun until having kids age 40 meant this was impossible what with park visits and beach trips and everything else you do with kids in the fresh air (and UV!). Found I was ok, no rashes. Was this post baby hormones? However hips started hurting a lot. Told this was bursitis or pelvic problems from having kids. Age 43 diagnosed with hashimotos hypothyroidism. Age 47 disc shaped sun rashes, bigger than a 50 pence piece would start up in spring in on arms and chest in combination with worsening shoulder, back and hip pain. Treated for 'ringworm'. This summer after severe stress the disc shaped rashes formed larger islands with slightly discernible rims and became itchy in combination with agonising hip and back pain and high fever. Rashes were biopsied with positive lupus result. I ended up in a wheelchair for a while and am still flaring while I await my first appointment at Louise Coote Unit. I am getting slight rashes that start as spots then develop into round discs on skin exposed to light even through a bedroom window. Remembering to wear sun cream indoors is not easy! Good luck to you and everyone else so helpful on this thread. I've listened and learned from you all. X


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