The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in your home. Its tight, wet spaces make it difficult to move around the room without slipping or bumping into things. However, for a senior who has decreased balance and vision (both of which naturally happen with age), the bathroom can be a real navigation nightmare.
Too often, seniors think that because they’ve had a few “close calls” in the bathroom that their only option is moving to an assisted living facility. This certainly isn’t the case.
There are plenty of options to make aging-in-place modifications to the bathroom to allow you to remain safely independent in the comfort of your home.
Bathroom Renovations that Reduce Risk
Lower the Threshold – One of the first modifications you should consider is replacing the traditional tub/shower with one that has a lower threshold. This will greatly reduce the risk of slipping as you get in and out of the tub, and there are many options available.
Seated Showers – A seated shower base has a “bench” for you to sit on, which is much more attractive than the shower-chair. These models typically come installed with a hand-held shower nozzle and a large shower lever that is easy to grip when you turn the water on and off.
Seated Tubs – If you prefer to take baths, there are several options on the market, such as a seated bathtub with door or a “rising wall” bathtub. These allow you to walk into your bathtub, get safely seated and then draw water to bathe. Like the seated showers, they, too, come with larger-than-normal water handles conveniently located to eliminate the need to reach.
Taller Toilets – Replace your standard-height toilet with one that is specific to the aging-in-place market. These toilets are 2.5” higher, making it easier for seniors to lower themselves and stand.
Safety Bars – Grab bars are an important safety aspect of a bathroom designed for seniors, as they provide leverage and prevent falls. One of the reasons many seniors don’t like grab bars, however, is because they don’t want their bathrooms looking like a hospital room.
The difference is, aging-in-place design isn’t sterile. When you hire a CAPS-certified remodeling firm, like Re-Bath & More, to design your new bathroom, these features are incorporated into the design, not as an “after-thought,” and your bathroom is functional and stylish.
Lighting & Color Blocks – As we age, our vision begins to yellow, so a smart bathroom modification is to add brighter and/or more lighting.
We also lose depth perception, so using color blocks to help distinguish areas in the bathroom is helpful to seniors. For example, a remodeled bathroom can be designed to have light floors, dark cabinetry and a light countertop. This makes it easier for older homeowners to distinguish the different spaces and not bump into things.
Take another look at today’s aging-in-place products. They provide functionality and beauty, but most importantly, they allow you to stay in your home longer.
If you’d like to learn more about these and other aging-in-place bathroom renovations, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We’ll come out to your home, see the space you have to work with and make recommendations based on your specific situation.