Senior Living: Bathrooms & Aging-in-Place
Wednesday Aug 30th, 2017
Your home may be exactly what you need right now, but how about in 10 or 20 years?
Nowadays, more people are thinking ahead to their golden years by making modifications to their homes so they can age-in-place. In fact, a recent survey by the remodelling website Houzz found that 20 percent of staying-in-place seniors remodelled a kitchen last year and, of those, 60 percent made upgrades with aging in mind. Among the quarter of seniors who upgraded a bathroom, 69 percent made an accessibility upgrade.
Bathrooms are an important area of the home when choosing to age-in-place. They need to be universal for all abilities, as well as safe, efficient and adaptable. If you have plans for a bathroom remodel that will carry you through your golden years, here are four universal bathroom design elements to consider:
Safety is critical when renovating any bathroom, but more so when aging-in-place. There are certain factors to keep in mind, including:
• Fall hazards on slippery surfaces
• Grab bars or rails for added support
• Tripping hazards: bath mats, shower ledges and flooring transitions
• Burn hazards from water temperature
• Sharp edges
• Inadequate lighting
Many of these safety hazards can be eliminated by installing slip-resistant floors, curbless showers, safety rails, temperature controls, task lighting and more.
Universal bathrooms are often more spacious to accommodate people of all abilities. Fixtures are customized to the needs of the user and can include a range of options, like walk-in tubs and showers, raised toilets and vanities, and even urinals. A larger bathroom also promotes maneuverability, which is a key consideration for individuals who use a mobility device, like a walker or wheelchair.
Space to Move Around Safely
When designing a bathroom for someone with a mobility device, it’s important to factor space in front of fixtures, controls and windows for easy access to all areas of the bathroom. This also eliminates the need for unnecessary reaching, which can lead to a slip and fall accident. Pocket doors, curbless showers with slip-resistant flooring and wall-hung vanities also promote maneuverability in a bathroom.
Versatility & Adaptability
Adaptability is key when designing a bathroom that promotes aging-in-place – after all, as we get older, our abilities change. There are many ways to achieve adaptability in a bathroom, including:
• Installing a showerhead on a vertical slide bar for different height requirements
• Pre-programming water temperature for comfort and convenience
• Installing a raised toilet seat and grab bars
• Using drawers for storage, which are easier to access
• Adjustable height vanities
If you want to stay in your current home, an Accredited Senior Agent is a great resource to tap into, as we stay on top of the various funding programs available to help you age-in-place. We also have many preferred contractors in our network who specialize in renovations to help seniors stay in their homes longer. To learn more, please contact me for details.