A bathroom remodel is a great way for seniors to maintain their independence and safety in their homes. Aging in place involves adjusting and changing one's environment. This allows seniors to live independently for longer periods without needing help or assistance from others.
Bathroom remodeling includes creating an accessible, safe space tailored to their needs. Through these changes, the bathroom can be a more comfortable and welcoming environment for seniors. It is essential to understand how to remodel a bathroom for the aging-in-place concept. With the proper modifications, seniors can maintain independence, safety, and comfort while using the bathroom.
Here are some of the key features to include when designing an accessible bathroom layout:
The bathroom should be located on the home's ground floor or as close to it as possible. It will make it easier for seniors to access and use without climbing stairs. Climbing the stairs can pose a safety risk for seniors.
Grab bars are inexpensive and simple but can make all the difference regarding bathroom accessibility. Some walk-in tubs come with built-in grab bars. However, you can use vertical poles at accessible points throughout the bathroom. Grab bars are not just for safety in case of a fall. They also assist older adults with getting around the bathroom more easily and using the toilet.
Bathrooms that are ideal for seniors need an ADA-compliant toilet. These toilets have an elevated seat and should be between 17 and 18 inches from the floor. Smart toilets are also an excellent choice, as they feature high-tech features such as automatic flush, heated seats, and more. They increase comfort and make using the toilet more convenient. They also clean up for you, so seniors who have the inability to wipe themselves can get cleaned up without involving another person.
Adequate lighting is essential for bathroom safety, especially when it comes to navigating a space that may have wet surfaces. LED lights are brighter than incandescent bulbs, making them right for bathrooms. Choose lumens similar to the outside bulbs so transitioning to the bathroom lights won't cause eye strain. Motion sensor lights are also great to avoid reaching for a switch.
For seniors with mobility issues, walk-in tubs are a great bathroom addition. Not only do these tubs have low thresholds, but they also come with various features such as air jets, chromotherapy lights, and hydrotherapy functions. Having one less obstacle for seniors to navigate in the bathroom helps them remain independent and maintain their safety.
Wheelchair Accessible Door
If an elderly use a wheelchair or other mobility device, widening the door to accommodate them is essential. An ADA-compliant door should be at least 32 inches wide, and feature lever handles that are easy to open with just one hand. It will make it easier for seniors in wheelchairs to access the bathroom without assistance.
Consider a floor that isn't slick in the bathroom. Marble, for example, can become very slippery with just a little bit of water and should be avoided. Tile options are available that have a rougher surface and are comfortable to walk on but aren't as slippery. Laminate is also a great option, as it's generally less slick than wet or dry tile. To further prevent slipping, get mats and rugs for areas with a higher risk of falling.
Functional Fixtures and Accessories
When it comes to fixtures and accessories, focus on more than just their aesthetic appeal. Ensure they are functional and you can use them without straining your back or having difficulty reaching them. Placement can lead to falls and accidents, so be mindful of everything you place in the bathroom. Choose adjustable accessories to move to a lower or higher height as needed.
Small changes can make all the difference in preventing falls or other accidents and increasing comfort and convenience. By taking these steps in a bathroom remodel, an elderly person can maintain their independence and safety.