7 Tips for Designing Senior Citizen-Friendly Bathrooms

by J on August 13, 2010

Undertaking a bathroom remodeling project always requires planning and research, but when the bathroom remodel is for an elderly person, it’s important to incorporate several safety features into your design. Many manufacturers such as Kohler are designing products that are beautiful as well as accessible to the elderly and those who are handicapped. The following tips will help you design a bathroom that is safe, functional and beautiful.

  1. One of your first considerations is to install non-skid flooring. Carpet is the ultimate non-skid surface, but also prone to water damage. You could purchase throw rugs to lay on top of the carpet by the tub and sink areas to protect the carpet. Another option is to purchase ceramic tile that is treated with an anti-skid agent.  Or, you can look into companies like SlipFix, which sells a product that coats ceramic tile, terrazzo, concrete, natural stone and porcelain. This coating makes the floor non-skid.
  2. When designing a bathroom for the elderly, keep in mind that it should probably be wheelchair accessible. Even if your loved one is not currently in a wheelchair, you should plan for that future possibility. The room should allow a wheelchair the access needed to turn 360 degrees.
  3. Remember to install a higher commode than normal in an elderly-friendly bathroom. A regular toilet is about 15” high. Purchase a taller one that will add about 3 inches to the height.
  4. Your bathroom remodel should also allow for seating at the vanity. This usually means that your vanity needs to be at a lower height than the typical vanity installation. Planning for comfortable seating is especially necessary for those with knee or hip problems.
  5. If possible, have a walk-in tub installed. As people age, stepping over the tub ledge becomes more difficult and is a common reason for falls in the bathroom.  A walk-in tub has a door that swings completely open, allowing a person to walk into the tub. Most also come with a seat and grab bars that allow the bather to remain in a higher position.
  6. If you still plan on using a shower in this bathroom, then a fold-down shower seat makes a nice additional safety feature.
  7. Finally, if you haven’t already, be sure you install grab bars where they are needed in the bathroom, such as in the tub or shower and next to the commode. Kohler now has a series of decorative grab bars that match a line of their faucets.

If you need more ideas on how to make your bathroom remodel elderly-friendly, be sure to consult with  your local bathroom remodeling expert. They will be able to design a plan for you and help you find all the latest products on the market for a safe, successful bathroom makeover.

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