Getting older is inevitable, but there are many home improvements we can do to make life easier. If you or a loved one have become less mobile due to aging or other disabilities, you can still maintain your independence by making a few modifications to your existing home.
Bathroom Safety and Accessibility
The bathroom is one of the most important areas to consider when making aging in place renovations. While it’s not necessary to do any major bathroom remodeling, here are a few tips for minimizing the risk of accidental slips and falls:
Install Grab Bars: Installing grab bars in the bathtub, toilet or shower area is an easy, economical way to improve bathroom safety. Just having something to hang onto can help prevent most slips. Non-slip adhesive strips on the bottom of the tub and shower also aid in maintaining traction.
Invest in a Walk-In Tub: Walk-ins have a small, watertight door on the side of the bathtub for easier entry and exit from the tub (no stepping over the sides!). Some models even come with whirlpool jets and spa-like features for massaging aching muscles, and even heaters and lights for a more luxurious soak. Others have self-cleaning features and require virtually no maintenance. Another option is to have your bathroom remodeling contractor do a bathtub conversion, which means installing a walk-in door on the side of your existing bathtub.
Install a Curbless Shower: A curbless shower base allows walkers or wheelchairs to roll in easily – ask your home improvement contractor about whether you can convert your existing shower stall.
Use a Handheld Shower Sprayer: When used in combination with a bathtub/shower seat, a wall mounted, handheld shower allows the physically challenged to shower in a stationary position, and have more independence in their daily hygiene. The sprayer also serves as a convenient cleaning tool as well.
Accessibility Upgrades for Other Parts of Your Home
Wheelchairs or walkers can be better accommodated by installing a ramp leading up to the front entrance, and widening frequently used doorways throughout the home. In the kitchen, put essentials within easy reach, and keep an extension “grabber” tool handy for reaching into upper cabinets.