As you age, your body changes. Everyday tasks you once performed easily can become a little more out of reach. Formerly comfortable surroundings can suddenly seem to be danger zones, where your safety is put at risk. There are few rooms in your home where the risks are greater than the bathroom. This is where critical aging in place resources come into play.
If maintaining your independence means making your home more accessible according to your changing needs and abilities, having a home maintenance checklist and knowing a few aging in place bathroom design tips can help keep your loved ones safe.
To that end, here are eight ways you can remake a bathroom for the golden years.
For any older adult, the bathtub can be a big bathroom hazard. Impaired mobility, balance issues, and a range of age-associated medical conditions like weakened joints and arthritis can all make getting in, bathing, and getting out of the bathtub dangerous.1
In fact, of the three million people over the age of 65 who are treated for fall-related injuries each year, 80% sustained their injuries in the bathroom.1
Fortunately, there are several aging in place bathroom design solutions that can make bathing safer. When it comes to making the tub accessible, consider options like:
Age-related mobility issues can make sitting down and getting up from the toilet very difficult. Most standard toilets range in height from 15 inches from the floor to the seat to 19 inches, although a vast majority are shorter than 17 inches.4
But the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suggests that 17 to 19 inches is the optimal toilet height for people with accessibility issues.5That means that your toilet is probably in need of a redesign.
There are two ways of improving toilet accessibility:
Although the bathtub and the toilet might be more obvious considerations when it comes to aging in place home modifications and bathroom design, the sink and vanity counter can pose difficulties as well. This is especially true if an elderly person uses a wheelchair.
Most bathroom sinks and vanities are designed with closed bottom sections, often with drawers or cabinets beneath the sink. This is great for bathroom storage but not so great for accessibility, as it can prevent people in wheelchairs from getting close enough to use the sink.
If a vanity redesign is in order, be sure to:2
It’s no secret that bathrooms can become very slippery places. Understandably, if your mobility and balance are already compromised, a wet floor and slick surface can spell disaster. Even a minor slip or fall can result in serious injuries.
That’s why limiting the likelihood of slip and fall injuries is such a crucial aspect of aging in place bathroom design. Common solutions include:
One of the simplest options for aging in place bathroom design is installing grab bars or rails. These are sturdy, easily graspable bars you can install almost anywhere in your bathroom, from the tub and shower to the walls near the toilet and sink.
Grab bars can help with:
The ADA recommends doorways of at least 32 inches in width to accommodate people who use wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids. Unfortunately, the average width of home interior doors is between 24-36 inches, with many coming in on the narrower end of that range.
If your doorway isn’t wide enough to be accessible, your aging in place bathroom design plans may need to include widening the door. But if an overhaul of that scale isn’t in the cards, you may be able to gain more space by:
Lighting is highly important when it comes to aging in place bathroom design. The correct lighting is necessary to promote visibility but also to reduce the risk of vision impairment that can come from improper lighting. It’s also important to consider how easy it is to change the light bulbs in your bathroom.
Here’s what to keep in mind when it comes to creating a safe and accessible bathroom lighting scheme:7
There are many accessories available to improve your aging in place bathroom design that don’t involve redoing your bathroom floor, remodeling your shower, or reconceptualizing your lighting scheme. Just like installing grab rails, they’re simple solutions that can make a world of difference.
When you’re thinking of ways to make a more senior-friendly bathroom, consider options such as:
Redesigning you or your loved one’s bathroom can go a long way to staying in the home and community you’ve loved for all these years. That said, making aging in place design changes can be costly. Don’t let your finances stand in the way of turning your bathroom into a safe senior friendly bathroom and usable space.
That’s where Truehold comes in. Our sale-leaseback program is the smartest financial solution for seniors who want to continue living-in-place. It’s a way for you to access your home’s equity and use it to make your home safer for you.
Interested in learning more? Get your Sale-Leaseback info kit today.
1. Senior Safety Advice. How To Make a Bathtub Safe for The Elderly. https://seniorsafetyadvice.com/how-to-make-a-bathtub-safe-for-elderly/
2. Aging In Place. What To Do When You Redo Your Bathroom. https://aginginplace.org/what-to-do-when-you-redo-your-bathroom/
3. My Caring Plan. Best Tub Transfer Benches for Seniors. https://www.mycaringplan.com/blog/best-tub-transfer-benches-for-seniors/
3. Senior Advisor. 5 Alternatives to Walk-In Tubs. https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2017/07/5-alternatives-to-walk-in-tubs/
4. Kohls. Toilets Guide: Design. https://www.us.kohler.com/us/Design/article/CNT120300035.htm#
5. Elder Guru. Selecting the Proper Toilet Height for Seniors. https://www.elderguru.com/selecting-the-proper-toilet-height-for-seniors/#
6. Houzz. The Best Anti-Slip Floors for Your Bathroom. https://www.houzz.in/magazine/the-best-anti-slip-floors-for-your-bathroom-stsetivw-vs~127839652
7. Ella Stewart Care. Bathroom Lighting for Aging in Place by Room. https://www.ellastewartcare.com/blog/aging-in-place-by-room-part-42-bathroom-lighting
8. The Senior List. 7 Options for Senior Friendly Bathrooms. https://www.theseniorlist.com/blog/7-ways-to-make-your-bathroom-more-accessible-for-the-elderly/