Door knobs can be very painful to turn with arthritic fingers, hands, or wrists. This is especially true of ball- or bulb-type doorknobs, because I have to grab them and twist my wrist around while applying pressure. If the knob hasn't been oiled recently, or if the door is not plumb, turning the knob might take a lot of pressure.
Levers are Pain-free
A lever handle is much, much easier and less painful to use. A lever can be pushed without grasping the handle by simply pushing down with the weight of a hand. I can use the palm of my hand or flat fingers so my joints aren't even used.
Discovery of a Great Tip
I learned this helpful tip from my water heater installer. My water heater split at the seam and it had one of those flower-shaped discs for a handle that require the same gripping and twisting as a doorknob. I couldn't turn the water off with this handle, it had to be turned off at the street. I asked the man who installed the new water heater to please install some type of handle which I would be able to operate in the event of another emergency. He installed a lever. I was amazed that I could turn the water off so easily!
I started replacing every knob in the house with a lever. I started with doorknobs, but also replaced bathroom and kitchen sink handles, shower handles, and outdoor spigot handles. You can see this variety of levers in the video below.
Nothing to Remember
The great thing about replacing knobs with levers is that there is nothing to remember. There are so many tips to save joints that I forget about until after I've stressed my joints. Once a knob is replaced, I use the lever that is there because it is the only option. Nothing to remember, no habits to change.
IRS Pub 502
I was careful to save all the receipts and give them to my tax advisor to determine if the improvements were tax deductible and, if so, what percentage of the cost was tax deductible. The 2009 IRS Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses, page 6, specifically mentions "modifying hardware on doors" and discusses other "improvements made to accommodate a home to your disabled condition". Always consult a qualified tax professional for tax advice.