The bathroom is often the most dangerous room in the house for seniors. It’s filled with sharp corners and hard, slick surfaces that make slipping and falling almost inevitable. Luckily, there are things you can do to make your bathroom safer and more attractive. In this article, we will share some good advice on bathroom adaptations for the elderly. Read on to learn more.
Update the bath
Being able to bathe or shower independently is essential to aging in place successfully. Many seniors find stepping into and out of a standard bathtub quite challenging, and this simple act can be very dangerous. This is why many seniors are choosing to replace the tub with a walk-in or roll-in shower. Many affordable, ready-made units offer built-in seating for ease of use.
If a soaking bath is a “must” a walk in tub is a good solution. These units are usually designed to fit perfectly in the space vacated by a standard tub. They offer lots of space and comfortable seating for a luxurious soak. Some units come equipped with whirlpool and massage options.
Be sure to look for a model featuring a “smart drain” to drain away water quickly to facilitate a speedy exit from the tub. Without this feature, you may become uncomfortable waiting for the water to drain before opening the door and stepping out.
When you update your tub or shower, be sure to pay attention to details.
- Look for a unit that offers a hot limit safety feature to prevent accidental burns.
- Invest in genuine grab-bars, and have them installed professionally.
- Get a hand-held shower for more comfort and convenience.
- Look for a unit with a textured floor to avoid slipping.
- Be sure to get an accessible, easy-to-turn lever faucet.
All of these upgrades will make bathing safer and more convenient while making the bathroom more attractive and improving property values.
Upgrade the toilet
Most toilets are rather short and squat at a mere fifteen inches high. Most seniors and people with mobility challenges find a slightly taller commode more comfortable and easier and safer for sitting and rising.
Taller toilets are so popular with older people that they are now dubbed “right height” toilets. Many manufacturers offer them in attractive, water saving, easy-clean, sleek, one-piece styles. Unlike toilet seat risers, which give the bathroom a definite “nursing home” feel, these stylish units look good and are a definite home improvement.
Make the sink accessible
Installing a higher vanity that does not have cabinets underneath can make the bathroom sink and counter much more accessible for people who use a wheelchair. Be sure to install accessible, easy-turn lever faucets on the sink as well as in the bath. Install a full-wall mirror over the sink so that the mirror can be used in both a standing and seated position.
Pay attention to detail
In addition to upgrading the bath, sink and toilet, there are a number of aesthetic details that can also enhance safety and accessibility. Keep these points in mind when planning your bathroom improvements:
- Choose contrasting colors for floors and walls. This is very helpful for seniors experiencing dementia.
- Choose matte finish paint and tile over high gloss options. Matte finish is easier on the eyes and reduces glare.
- Choose textured flooring over slick flooring for better footing.
- Consider using built-in, open shelves for storage. Attractive, open shelving installed at a convenient height is easily accessible. Built-in storage options are more secure and less likely to cause a tripping hazard than free-standing cupboards and shelves.
- Keep a medical alert button near the toilet and/or install a landline phone in the bathroom. A landline will work even if the electricity goes out; it does not have batteries to charge, and it cannot be carried out of the room and left somewhere else. It will always be there in case of a fall or other emergency.
Professional bathroom adaptations ensure senior safety and increase property value
To age gracefully and successfully in place, it is absolutely essential that every part of a senior’s home be safe, secure and easily accessible. Senior homeowners face the double challenge of improving home safety and accessibility while retaining or improving home value.
Do-it-yourself bathroom improvements and accessibility measures may end up being unsafe or downright hazardous. Poorly installed adaptive bathroom equipment can detract from the appearance and overall usability of the bathroom while simultaneously damaging property values.
Professionally upgrading your bathroom for accessibility and safety is a good investment in the home. A well-designed, correctly built accessible bathroom can help you maintain your independence and age in place happily and with complete peace of mind.