Aging Options

Bathroom Design Tips for Aging in Place

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By Paige A. Mitchell, Freelance Writer

A bathroom should be well-equipped to enable the user to freshen-up properly. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences when it comes to bathroom equipment. However, as you get older, you will need a more accessible bathroom, sometimes with special safety features.

You need to ensure your bathroom is convenient and comfortable for you. At some point, we all lose a little flexibility. You might not be able to maneuver easily, or stand up on slippery tile without some support. In such instances, your bathroom might need some design adjustments. Here are five bathroom design tips should you be planning to spend your later years in your house.

Bathroom on the Main Level

Accessibility is certainly a concern if you live in a storied house. It is important to ensure that a full bathroom is located on the main level of the house, where you or your loved one will be spending most of your time. It should be easily accessible to you even when you are alone.

If it’s within your budget, remodel your main to either include a bathroom if one doesn’t currently exist or convert a powder room into a full bathroom. If that won’t work, you could also consider installing a lift chair, so that you can easily move up and down. If the bathroom is only two to three steps up or down, you could convert the short staircase into a ramp. If none of these are options for you, you might have to consider buying a more accessible home altogether.

Install Grab Bars

Everyone loses stability as we age. You might not be able to walk or stand very firmly. You should have grab bars installed in your bathroom to help you maneuver easily across the slippery bathroom floor. The grab bars will offer much-needed support while you are trying to move around in the bathroom. Consider laying non-slip bath mats along walkways as well.

Remodel the Bathtub and Shower

The bathtub can be dangerous if necessary precautions are not taken. The bathtub should be equipped with an appropriate seat and a non-slip bathtub surface. Perhaps even a side door that allows you to simply step inside (like a shower) would be helpful, rather than risking your balance by stepping over the tall panel.

A shower might need some remodeling as well. Expanding the shower room and its door is important. The door should be wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass through. The threshold between the bathroom floor and shower should be as low as possible.

Grab bars and anti-slip floors are quite essential in the shower as well.

The shower head should be adjustable, and some low shelves should be added too. All of these aspects will ensure that you can shower with everything within reach.

Remodel the Sinks

The sink might need to be adjusted too. First, it should be placed at a low level, where it’s accessible by a person sitting in a wheelchair. The taps should have lever handle faucets instead of round knobs. Water pressure and temperature should be controlled as well. You do not want scalding hot water splashing about and you should be able to turn it off quickly.

Get in touch with an aging-in-place professional, so that they can inspect your house and advise you on what improvements you should make. You can also seek the help of home repair experts. Your home, bathroom included, should be as convenient and comfortable as possible to help you age gracefully and safely at home.

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