Senior Friendly Bathroom Renovation Tips

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Bathrooms may be the smallest rooms in our homes, but we spend quite a bit of time there. They are also places where many slips and falls occur. Seniors are most prone to falls that account for more than half of all injuries. In 20% of cases, the accident results in death.

Thus, it is time to look beyond quick fixes that solve the problem only temporarily and carry out a renovation. With a bit of investment and planning, it is possible to preserve safety and turn the bathroom into a safe sanctuary of cleanliness and relaxation.

Slippery slope

In case you are wondering whether the investment pays off or not, let us just say that senior friendly bathroom renovation can help the elderly stay at home instead of moving into a facility. It improves the quality of life and boosts their independence, and these things are priceless.

Now, the main culprit behind slips and falls in bathrooms is moisture, which makes the surfaces extra slippery. The second crucial element that makes bathrooms a hassle is the difficulty of climbing or reaching for items. There are other contributing factors such as poor lighting and we are going to address them all.

Baby steps

First off, remodeling begins with a location of the bathroom. Ideally, there should be a bathroom on every level of the home, or at least a powder room. In case that is not possible, homeowners should strive to have a bathroom on the same level where seniors spend most of their time.

As we have indicated, seniors need room to move, especially those with a mobility aid such as a wheelchair. In this regard, renovating adheres to the principles of handicap bathroom design. Note that tiny bathrooms are thus the most difficult to renovate and transform into places that are easy to navigate.

Even then, however, there are small things you can do in order to make a big difference. For instance, add grab bars to the walls.  Do not overlook a single detail such as toilet paper being within reach. One may also raise the level of the toilet seat to facilitate actions like standing up and sitting down.

Flow of movement

Furthermore, try to separate the tub from the shower. Seniors find it hard, and some of them borderline impossible to climb over the edge of the tub. In a nutshell, the only type of shower that does the trick is the one you can simply walk into.

This type of bathroom remodel may involve turning a part of the bathroom into a “wet room”. Basically, you have to ensure that the floors and walls are sealed and tiled. Another problem for seniors is standing for a long time. Therefore, install a seat with a handy grab bar.

Alternatively, if the senior adores bathing, go for a walk-in tub. It is usually taller than a regular tub and features a door on the side as well as a seat. There are also models with jets that alleviate the pain in legs. Just bear in mind that due to higher water level, walk-in tubs can be hazardous to children.

Slip resistance and lighting

Next, we come to boosting the slip resistance. There is a plethora of tile designs on the market, but most of them prioritize aesthetics. When putting together bathrooms for the elderly, though, you should opt for a rougher texture. 

Finally, do not overlook the lighting. Most bathrooms have one light in the center of the ceiling, or above the mirror and vanity. Alas, rooms that are too dim and poorly lit are perilous for those with a blurry and impaired vision. Seniors need a light fixture in the shower, preferably the one that aids in nocturnal bathroom visits.

Stay on the safe side

Bathrooms are responsible for a lion’s share of all falls that take place at home. The good news is that it is within our power to turn this predicament around.

The renovation is all about functionality and smart thinking. You have to realize that even small movements like sitting and standing feel like a journey to the elderly. So, make the bathroom safer for those with reduced mobility and make life easier for them.

 

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