We featured a blog post recently about some common practices used in “aging in place” home remodeling. In today’s article, we are going to get a little more specific and highlight bathroom remodeling ideas that will help your home transition into a safe and friendly environment for elderly and disabled family members.
With an estimated 70 percent of home remodeling being devoted in some form to assist in the “age in place” movement, it is crucial to understand where the best place to put your remodeling dollars is. One such area is the bathroom. Not only do we use it day in and day out for hygiene and bodily function, but by their very nature, bathrooms can also tend to be a safety hazard – especially for aging relatives.
Here are some bathroom remodel tips you can incorporate into your bathroom redesign and discuss with a licensed home remodeling contractor.
Age In Place Bathroom Remodel Tips
Below are some tips for making your home comfortable for aging relatives. Some you can do on your own, and others you may wish to consult with a home remodeling expert. If you have any questions or would like a home remodeling consultation, please feel free to contact us – we would love to hear from you!
Install a Shower Seat
If you have ever experienced intense back or hip pain, or severe weakness, you know well the strain of standing for long periods of time. Installing a shower seat in your shower can help alleviate this pain, and also helps with safety concerns, such as slipping or falling.
Apply Slip Resistant Floor Coatings
Showers and tubs can become very slippery before, during and after use. You can purchase slip-resistant rugs or mats, but these can wear down over time or bunch up and become their own hazard. It is probably safer to have a professional install a slip-resistant coating to your shower or bathtub floors. This will help cut down on the possibility of a slip and fall, which can result in serious health issues.
Install Grab Bars in Your Bathroom
Another great idea is to install grab bars in your shower or near the tub, as well as by the toilet. Basically, any place where someone may need to brace themselves if they are standing, sitting or climbing into/out of an area. Grab bars are pretty simple installations for bathrooms, but make sure that the walls you place the grab bars onto are capable of holding the weight of whoever may use them. A home contractor will be able to advise you on whether or not you need to install support braces in key walls or not.
Making Your Shower or Tub Accessible
Accessibility is a huge concern when it comes to bathroom space, especially for people who rely on wheelchairs and walkers for mobility. Installing roll-in showers that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair is one option, as is installing a walk-in bathtub. Even for individuals without mobility issues, these might be good options, as we tend to lose our balance more often when we get older and climbing in and out of tubs may become difficult over time.
Adjusting the Height of Your Toilet
Another big difference you can make when remodeling your bathroom is the height (and type) of your toilet. You can configure the height of your toilet in a number of ways, including purchasing a new, height-appropriate toilet or by purchasing a seat extender. Additionally, you may wish to consider buying a handicap-accessible toilet if your space allows it.
Aging in Place Bathroom Checklist
Here is a checklist of some things you should keep in mind or consider when performing a bathroom remodel with aging in place in mind.
- Consider having a bathroom on the floor level to avoid needing to use the stairs to access your restroom.
- If you or a family member relies on a wheelchair, make sure the bath has a 60-inch turn radius and either 36×36-inch or 30×48-inch clear space for maneuverability.
- Install a curb-free roll-in shower or walk-in bathtub.
- Install grab bars and make sure your support walls can handle the pressure and weight. Add support braces if necessary.
- Install or purchase a shower seat in the shower.
- Apply anti-slip coating on shower or bathtub floors, as well as the bathroom floor.
- Plenty of lighting (but not too bright), including a light in the shower if needed.
- Scald-proof faucet and shower accessories to prevent the water getting too hot.
- Install a height-appropriate or handicap-accessible toilet.
- Install a hand-held or adjustable shower head for accessibility and ease of use.
- Consider installing a wheelchair-friendly, open-spaced sink.
- Install a bathroom phone or intercom in case of an emergency.
- Install bathroom locks that can be unlocked from outside.
- Install toilet paper holders that can be changed with one hand and that can be reached from a seated position.