5 Tips for Aging in Place Bathroom Design
In an aging society where life expectancy and quality are on the rise, the latest design trend in home building and renovations is to incorporate “aging in place” features. There is no other room where accessibility and safety play a more critical role than in the bathroom. Implementing tips for aging in place plans will set your bathroom up with features designed to help people more easily perform bathroom duties as they age.
Wet surfaces are potential hazards for the youngest and healthiest of us. They present more significant damage to those who are reaching their golden years. Customizing a bathroom to accommodate the unique needs of seniors or those with disabilities will help to reduce the risk of accidents and allow for safer and easier facilitation of bathroom activities.
Hand Rails and Grab Bars
Handrails are essential accessories to help seniors get in and out of the shower and using the toilet. With proper installment and placement, handrails and grab bars can withstand up to 300 pounds of pressure to provide a stable balancing aid.
Several rails and bars should be professionally installed around the shower, toilet, and sink areas. In addition to providing significant safety, handrails are now available in a wide range of styles, colors, and patterns to add styling elements to your bathroom in the process.
Poor lighting can lead to slip and fall accidents for seniors with vision impairments. Avoid ceiling lights that are difficult to change and replace incandescent lights with LED bulbs that will not need changing nearly as often.
Large windows can also provide a good deal of natural sunlight to brighten your bathroom. There are a wide range of window types specifically designed for use in bathrooms.
Additional bathroom lighting tips include:
Bathroom light switch outside each bathroom entrance
Shower stall lights
Backup bulbs in bathroom light receptacles
Strategically placed night lights
Motion detector lights
Open it Up
Older bathrooms tend to be smaller with little room to maneuver anything but your body from the sink to the shower. Those who are or will soon be transiting from mid-life to elderly need to consider a bathroom design or remodel project that will allow room for the use of canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Easy, clear access to the toilet or into the shower is crucial for people using walking assistive devices.
As we age, it becomes more challenging to get around and perform the daily tasks and activities previously taken for granted. Climbing steps and reaching for needed items in the bathroom can become increasingly more difficult over time. Walk-in showers and tubs and easily accessible storage and medicine cabinets will take some of the stress out of bathroom activities as we get older.
Easy Cleaning Surfaces
Everyone wants to live an independent life as long as possible, which for many, includes continuing to do their own cleaning around the house. Materials used in solid surface bathroom vanity and quartz bathroom countertops are very easy to keep clean and require little maintenance over time. Both Solid surface and engineered quartz are non-porous and immune to mold, mildew, and water damage. Elderly residents will never have to worry about resealing these materials, either.
Aging in Place Bathroom Design is a Matter of Safety
Bathroom accidents account for hundreds of thousands of accidents every year. People of all ages and abilities are prone to injuries because of wet and slippery surfaces. As we age, strength and reflex capabilities diminish, making trips to the bathroom even more hazardous.
Implementing tips for aging in place bathroom design is helpful for those advancing in age. The primary purpose is to add safety features to prevent injuries from slips and falls.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Construction and Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.