Making home modifications for an aging loved one can seem like an overwhelming project. You might want to consider starting with the bathroom as soon as possible because it is often considered a necessity in a senior-friendly home.
Sometimes what makes a bathroom senior-friendly is changing the layout or adjusting products for ease of use. Other times, it takes a remodel to truly create a safe, accessible bathroom for older adults.
Our guide will help you start contemplating what a bathroom design for elderly should be.
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Available Grab Bars and Handrails
A senior-friendly bathroom should be designed with safety and accessibility in mind. Grab bars and handrails should be available in or near any shower stall or bathtub. They should provide hand support close to the tub or shower within reach of the user.
Additionally, toilets should have grab bars on each side with a gripping surface designed for a secure hold. Their height should be adjustable and positioned to provide support for standing and for sitting. Having these grab bars and handrails spaced strategically throughout the bathroom creates a safe environment for the elderly to move around the bathroom with ease and comfort.
A Non-slip Flooring
A senior-friendly bathroom should have a non-slip flooring option to ensure safety and reduce the risk of slips and falls. Nonslip flooring can be applied to any type of flooring material such as:
It can be used to create a slip-resistant surface that won’t become slippery when it comes into contact with liquids, soap, or other bathroom-related substances. Nonslip flooring can instantly make the bathroom appear homey and comforting by adding a textured area that provides extra traction and security.
It can also be quickly and easily cleaned, making it an excellent choice for seniors who want to keep the bathroom clean and safe. Together with other safety features such as grab bars and elevated toilet seats, the non-slip flooring can help keep seniors safe in the bathroom while providing an easy-to-maintain surface.
A Curbless or Walk-in Shower
A senior-friendly bathroom should be equipped with a curbless or walk-in shower. This removal of a threshold allows for ease of access and lessens the likelihood of a slip or fall. It also offers more room to safely maneuver a walker or mobility device within the shower, so seniors can bathe independently.
The addition of grab bars, either mounted to the wall or the shower enclosure, provides safety and support. If the budget allows, a shower seat or bench may also be incorporated, which allows seniors to rest and take pressure off of their legs, feet, and back while they bathe.
Low-mounted showers and handheld showerheads provide convenience for seniors with limited flexibility or range of motion. Lastly, it might be beneficial for seniors to choose non-slip tile, or ensure an anti-slip additive or mat has been added to the shower pan so that seniors can feel the surface is safe and secure.
Available Built-in or Removable Shower Bench
A senior-friendly bathroom should include an available built-in or removable shower bench. Senior citizens need an easy way to access the shower safely, and having easy access to a shower bench eliminates the risk of slipping and falling in the shower.
It also allows senior citizens to be able to wash their hair and other personal care tasks with ease. The bench should also be wide and comfortable enough for the senior citizen to sit down or savor while bathing. The bench should also have a strong base and be able to stand up to any water that may be splashed on it while bathing.
If the bench is removable, it should be easy to install and uninstall. Finally, the bench should be well-lit and the surrounding bathroom should be free from clutter and obstacles eliminating any potential safety hazards.
Getting Handheld Showerhead
A senior-friendly bathroom should contain features that help seniors age in place and maintain their independence for as long as possible. This includes getting a handheld showerhead. This type of showerhead allows the user to easily shower while seated.
It can also be adjusted based on the user’s height. This reduces the risk of falls due to having to reach further. Installation is relatively easy and can be done quickly. When getting the handheld showerhead, make sure to also consider slip-resistant bath mats for additional safety.
Additionally, consider adding grab bars near the toilet and shower to give extra support when needed. Overall, these additions make a bathroom more safety-conscious and more senior-friendly.
Preferably Raised Toilet Seat
Ideally, a senior bathroom should feature a raised toilet seat, so that it is easier for seniors to use, without the risk of them falling over or straining themselves while using it. Other aspects should include a:
- comfortable seat
- lever or button-operated flushing mechanisms
- raised toilet paper holders
- easy-to-reach shelves
- no-slip bathtub or shower area
Providing a bathroom tailored to the special needs of seniors helps make them feel safe and comfortable, and allows them to remain independent longer.
Ensured Good Lighting
A senior-friendly bathroom should provide ample and even lighting to make all areas and features visible and easily accessible. For instance, a good lighting system should be utilized to ensure that seniors can see clearly any changes in direction on the bathroom floor.
Also, the bathroom should have good backlighting for mirror use. This helps to ensure that individuals can easily see themselves in the reflection of the mirror while adequately grooming. All lighting fixtures should be reliable with no dark spots for seniors to trip over.
Moreover, it’s recommended that the switch for the lights is easily reachable so that a senior can access it with ease. Thus, proper lighting is essential to make any bathroom senior-friendly.
If you are unsure about how to maximize your bathroom renovation for your elderly though, you can always consult the experts. A good place to start with is by reaching out to any Senior Concierge Services near you.
Know What to Include in Your Bathroom Design for Elderly Loved Ones
Overall, seniors should have a safe and comfortable bathroom that is easy to access. It should be equipped with safety grab bars and non-slip surfaces, and well lit.
A bathroom design for the elderly can be achieved through thoughtful design. It means having a selection of appropriate fixtures, and installation of accessibility features. Consider these ADA compliant bathroom inputs today and help your elderly have a safe independent environment.
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