Aging in Place Bathroom Design TipsPublished on Friday August 21, 2020
Most seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as they possibly can, rather than moving into another residence or care facility. However, home design can significantly impact whether or not remaining at home is a viable option.
Bathroom design in particular plays a huge role in a senior’s ability to age in place. Slick surfaces create hazardous situations for seniors that can have devastating results. Aging-in-place bathroom design minimizes the risks that bathrooms pose to seniors and allows these individuals to remain at home comfortably for a longer period of time.
Aging-in-place bathroom remodeling doesn’t have to be complicated. With just a few upgrades, you can significantly improve bathroom safety and make that space more senior-friendly.
Here are a few aging-in-place design ideas:
Aging-in-Place Design Ideas
Falls are one of the greatest obstacles seniors face when it comes to aging in place. In fact, 40% of nursing home admissions are the result of a fall.
Since the toilet involves a lot of up-and-down movement, it’s a prime spot for injuries. An aging-in-place bathroom reduces the risk of falling by introducing more surfaces to grip while using the toilet.
Grab bars are one of the most useful features you can add to your bathroom’s toilet area. When properly installed, they should be able to sustain 250 to 300 pounds. Since grab bars and handrails are meant to help with sitting and standing, consider installing several at varying heights to best suit the needs of all occupants.
Aging-in-place bathroom design typically includes a lower sink to better accommodate seniors, especially those who require a wheelchair. The vanity may need to be remodeled slightly to create a space underneath for knees or a wheelchair to park. A dual-level sink may be an option for households that need to serve multiple family members.
Cabinets and Counters
Consider replacing your mirrored medicine cabinets with open shelving for easy access to medications. Plenty of counter space allows seniors to quickly find whatever they may need and eliminates the need for drawers that can be tricky to open for those that struggle with dexterity. Non-slip grips also provide additional support for seniors when using the counter.
Slippery bathroom floors are a major threat to seniors. To help prevent slip-and-falls, add non-slip mats or rugs around the sinks, shower, tub and toilet. Keep in mind that rugs can create a tripping hazard when not selected properly, so be sure to choose something that’s not going to slide around or curl up.
Alternatively, you can update your current tile with non-slip, non-skid tiles to remove the tripping hazard of a rug or floor mat.
Making the shower easily accessible and as safe to use as possible is imperative for aging-in-place bathroom design.
Replacing an existing bathtub with a walk-in shower removes the threshold that many seniors struggle to step over when entering or exiting the wet area of the bathroom. If the wall of the bathtub is too high for a senior to safely manage, installing a walk-in shower makes it far easier to bathe safely.
Another bathroom feature for aging-in-place is a shower seat, which increases both comfort and safety for seniors.
You should also install at least one grab bar or handrail in the shower, as well as a handheld shower head that allows for flexible, easy bathing. Make sure all the soaps, shampoos and other shower necessities are within easy reach and not at risk of falling and creating a slipping hazard.
Adding sconces on either side of the mirror or medicine cabinet above the sink with soft- or warm-toned light bulbs helps illuminate the bathroom without creating glare that can be harsh on elderly eyes. Windows or skylights can also allow plenty of natural light into the bathroom which can help illuminate the bathroom throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to have night lights in the hallway leading to the bathroom as well as in the bathroom itself.
Make sure the bathroom light switch is close to the entryway and easily accessible, which may mean installing the switch lower on the wall if the senior uses a wheelchair.
Lock-Proof Bathroom Door
While the bathroom should certainly be an area of the home where a user can expect privacy, consider installing a door knob that can be unlocked from the outside in case someone has an accident and needs help.
Your Bath Remodel Experts
At Long Baths™, we provide more than just aging-in-place design ideas. We offer quality materials and unparalleled craftsmanship because the quality you notice often comes from the details you don’t. If you’re looking to upgrade your bathtub or shower, contact Long online today to get a quote or schedule a free, in-home consultation!
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