As people age, they often undergo several physical changes. This requires them to adapt their surroundings to mitigate said changes. For example, their eyesight may worsen, presenting the need for prescription lenses. They may start walking with a cane to help with balance. In both scenarios, the adaptations they incorporate into their lives allow them to continue living independently.
Suppose you are entering your elderly years and want to maintain your independence, as most senior citizens desire. In that case, you can incorporate different design modifications throughout your home to make aging in place a real possibility. However, as you begin designing, certain rooms should hold higher regard to aging in place designs than others.
Out of all the rooms in a home, bathrooms are the most dangerous for the elderly. In fact, 80% of elderly falls occur at home in the bathroom. With this knowledge, it is essential to consider fall-preventative design choices. These choices need to be both effective and allow elderly individuals to continue living independently without affecting their safety. Luckily, there are many different choices that can not only fit a person’s individual needs and personal style.
While safety should be the highest priority when designing aging in place bathrooms, you should not have to compromise on appeal. There are several different design choices you can incorporate in a bathroom. These ideas allow the elderly to continue living independently as they age, enjoy the space they live in, and keep the home appealing to the average homeowner.
Zero-threshold showers, also known as curbless showers, are showers that do not require an individual to step over a barrier in order to enter. These showers have a slightly inclined floor so that water can drain appropriately.
Since there is no need to step over a curb, these showers are especially beneficial for seniors.
When designing a bathroom well suited for aging in place, the materials used are important to consider. This is especially when regarding flooring. Certain tiles and other flooring options can be extremely slippery when wet, becoming a potential safety hazard for the elderly. Therefore, it is crucial to use non-slip bathroom flooring.
Slip-resistant bathroom flooring options range in price and texture and are ultimately the best options for aging in place. Ceramic tile, natural stone, are some of the best options that appeal to the eye.
Shower seating allows seniors and elderly individuals to remain seated while bathing. Having the ability to sit while showering means seniors do not have to move around as much and maintain their independence. A built-in shower bench is also an excellent addition to an aging in place bathroom.
One of the most vital benefits of a shower bench is improved hygiene. It is not uncommon for seniors to refuse showers simply due to fear. With all the risks associated with a traditional bathroom, it is no surprise that this may happen. A built-in shower bench means elderly individuals can feel safe and secure while bathing, meaning they will bathe more often and consequently reduce the risk of skin problems and urinary tract infections.
Other than a shower seat, the toilet is another essential seat in the bathroom. The height of the toilet can also be a crucial factor in bathroom safety.
Our mobility can become increasingly limited as we age, making things like sitting and standing up from the toilet hard to do. Toilets that are too low are incredibly limiting when mobility is lacking. Installing a higher toilet can help seniors retain their independence and is advised by the ADA.
While standard toilets are fifteen to sixteen inches from the floor, high toilets can be anywhere from seventeen to nineteen inches. A high toilet seat offers less pressure on the knees, making it easier for elderly individuals to sit and stand.
In addition to toilet height, other toilet features should be considered when upgrading to an aging in place bathroom. These features include bowl shape, style, and flushing technology.
Soap, water, and slick floors can be a fatal combination for seniors. When shower safety is top of mind, shower bars are an ideal addition to help elderly individuals shower safely and remain independent.
When installing shower bars, it is critical to install them in places where hands would naturally reach if balance is compromised. It is also important to have one toward the shower entrance to help seniors get in and out with assistance.
While grab bars were once not so attractive, there are now a number of such that are much more appealing. Nowadays there are trendy grab bar options, so you do not have to sway from your design aesthetic in order to create a safe bathroom. You can age in place in a bathroom that is both beautiful and promotes independence.
Aging in Place Bathroom Design
Most individuals desire to maintain their independence as long as possible. When it comes to their homes, certain design choices will help elderly individuals take care of themselves as they age. This is especially true for bathrooms.
If you want to design a bathroom for either yourself or a loved one that allows them to maintain their independence as they age, there are important concepts to consider. Shower style, flooring, and even seating are all crucial things to account for when updating to an aging in place bathroom design. These features help promote safety and mitigate potential risks typically found within traditional bathroom styles.
The best part? These bathroom enhancements are design-savvy and often sought-after features for homebuyers. So you can install a safe, senior-friendly bathroom while still being fashion-forward. If you want to update your bathroom, contact one of our associates to help you get started.