With an aging population and a large portion of that population choosing to age in place in their own homes rather than in care facilities, it is important to keep safety and security in mind when remodeling a bathroom in the home of a senior.
Whether you need to take a few extra precautions right now or are simply thinking ahead, it is important to invest in bathroom remodeling that can meet your physical needs when you are alone or with a caregiver.
• For starters, you should have one full bath on the main floor of the house that includes a toilet and tub or shower and a bathroom door measuring 36” for easy access.
• Next, the bathroom needs to allow for enough space to move around, keeping in mind the potential eventual need for a cane, walker or wheelchair. That means there needs to be plenty of room for someone in a wheelchair to access the shower, toilet and sink. For example, while pedestal sinks or sinks hung directly from the wall may not offer storage space, they do allow you to roll up unhindered to wash your hands and brush your teeth.
• Toilets should be at the right height for the person using them. Also consider that the toilet paper dispenser must be within easy reach while in a sitting position.
• It goes without saying that grab bars can improve safety and security in the bathroom and prolong independence. Grab bars can be installed in any location where you may need assistance going from sitting to standing (next to toilet), support for walking (hallway), or to help with balance (bathtub or shower). If you don’t yet need grab bars but are working with a bathroom remodeler, consider having bracing installed in the walls where grab bars will eventually be installed.
• When it comes to bathtubs and showers, a number of options are available from full wet rooms to walk-in tubs to barrier-free roll-in custom showers with seating. Don’t forget the importance of a hand-held showerhead when your plumber is installing the new fixtures.
• Finally, the flooring needs to be non-slip and rugs and mats should be removed as they can cause slip and fall accidents.
Preparing your home now, through home improvements and remodeling, particularly in the bathroom, can make the transition go more smoothly as you age in place.
Reference: Age In Place