Bathrooms can be a dangerous place for the elderly. For elderly folks who still want to remain independent rather than live in a nursing home, designing a home that is as safe as possible is key to avoiding dangerous falls and slips. In case you want to design a bathroom with “aging in place” in mind, here are 7 ideas you can try.
1. Eliminating Shower Steps
Shower steps are one of the most dangerous bathroom features for the elderly. By installing a shower without steps, you can greatly reduce the chance of injury occurring in the bathroom. The best variations of this include curbless showers, a solid surface shower base, walk-in showers without doors, shower with rubber flooring, or some combination of these.
2. Adding Handles/Rails
Handles and rails should be prevalent throughout the home of anyone looking to age in place. Installing some bracing in the walls around your toilet and shower will prepare them for the addition of grab bars that can support up to 300lbs and prevent your friend or family member from landing on the floor unassisted, should they slip.
3. Installing Low-Maintenance Materials
For anyone looking to age in place, the assumption is that they will still do their own cleaning when necessary. For low-maintenance bathrooms that aren’t a hassle to clean, you might want to consider non-porous quartz bath countertops, split finish faucets, and solid surface, non-tiled walls and flooring. All of these materials are renowned for their low maintenance requirements and will make life a lot easier for your loved one.
4. Adjustable Shower Heads
Adjustable shower heads are the perfect addition for anyone looking to age in place. They can move up, down, and side-to-side to adjust to the height of the user. Combining an adjustable shower head with a handheld one is also great for those who want to sit down in the shower.
5. Higher Toilets
Higher toilets are easier to rise from than lower ones. By installing a toilet that sits higher off the ground than normal toilets, you can make it much easier on the knees and back of the person using it.
6. Better Lighting
Overhead lights and motion-sensing lights are great for illuminating even the darkest corners of a bathroom. For elders with poor eyesight, this type of bright lighting can prevent them from taking missteps that lead to injury.
7. Anti-Scald Water
Installing a mechanism that prevents the water from reaching scalding temperatures is another must-have for those looking to age in place. Scalding hot water not only can cause direct injury to the skin, it can lead to deadly slips and falls as well. Anti-scald settings are the only way to prevent this.
Protect Your Elderly Loved Ones With These Tips
The 7 suggestions in this article are perfect for protecting your loved ones, allowing them to age in place without fear of sustaining catastrophic injuries. Don’t wait till it’s too late, use these tips to keep your loved ones happy, healthy, and independent for as long as possible.
Mandy Lee is a contributor to Innovative Construction Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.