Accessible bathrooms help seniors to age in place and with dignity. Designing their bathrooms with quality fixtures and equipment goes a long way toward helping your loved ones feel safe and independent in their own homes. The motions of stepping in and out of showers or bathtubs, bending over at the sink, and getting up and down the toilet may not be a safe practice for senior citizens.
A well laid-out bathroom provides fixtures and fittings that help with accessibility and reduces the chances of accidental falls. It is important to have an idea of the best fixtures and equipment to include when designing a bathroom for seniors. Here are seven things you should consider when designing a senior’s bathroom.
Use Non-Slip Mats
Most accidents start from the entrance as one gets into and out of the shower or bathtub. Remember, this place is prone to soap and water, which means it can be slippery. The best way to mitigate this problem is by using non-slip mats to prevent sudden falls in the bathroom. Also, consider installing slip-resistant tiles because the whole floor needs to be friendly to the seniors. The mats can be placed at entry or exit, next to the bathtubs or showers, and in front of toilets.
Install a Quality Shower Bench
The ability to remain balanced while showering should not be overlooked when designing a bathroom for seniors. Transfer benches were designed for this purpose – to allow the elderly population sit and rest comfortably while bathing. Most of these shower benches are designed with ease and stability in mind. Others come with height adjustment options and suction cups, while some have armrests in their structures.
Install Lever Faucets
Twisting and turning can seem to be a problem for the elderly. To avoid this problem, the installation of lever faucets can come in handy. You will be presented with several unique styles to choose from like the foot-operated faucets. Rather than making the changes alone, consider asking for help from a professional who has a lot of expertise in this field.
Install Grab Bars and Rails
Grab bars and rails are one of the easiest and most affordable ways of designing a senior-friendly bathroom. They are usually installed in the shower, near the toilet, and on the bathtub to make it easier using these fixtures. You can choose to install them yourself or hire an expert to handle the work.
Walk-in bathtubs are some of the excellent and safer options for seniors who are too careful to risk falling while getting into a bathtub. They have doors, which makes them different from normal bathtubs, as this eliminates the hassle of lifting your legs when getting in and out of the bathtub. Most importantly, walk-in bathtubs reduce the risk of falling due to the slippery nature of the bathroom.
Ample Lighting and Colors
Overhead lighting may not create the best illumination when designing a bathroom for senior citizens. This is because they cast shadows, which tend to cover certain spaces in the bathroom. It is important to add multiple lights to create a uniform light that provides ample illumination. Also, demarcate different sections of the bathroom using contrast colors. Opt for matt vanishes since high-gloss vanishes can cause glares that are confusing for seniors.
General Bathroom Access and Safety
It is also important to meet the regulatory requirements for an accessible bathroom. Install a door that swings outward to create more space. The storage compartments should allow easier access by placing small items within their reach, considering the user’s individual needs. Lower the maximum heat temperature of water to prevent any burns in the sink or shower. It is also important to consider the best access for all types of accessories such as toothbrush holders, soap dishes, paper dispensers, and towel bars.
Designing a bathroom for seniors involves many skills and consideration, as it serves people with different ability levels. Keep in mind all the fixtures and fittings that might cause sudden falls and other types of accidents. The fundamental purpose of designing a bathroom for seniors is to give them peace of mind by making everything accessible whenever they need it. It also gives them privacy, as the safety fixtures and fittings allow them to do cleaning tasks by themselves. You have the option to do the bathroom design by yourself, if you have the required skills. On the other hand, you can hire a professional to help you out.