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No senior citizen wants to be moved to a separate care facility away from their home.
Every senior wants to age in place among the memories and comforts of their loved ones.
A critical key to making that happen is ensuring that every bathroom in the home is accommodating and safe – and, in many cases, that may entail a senior-friendly remodel of your bathroom.
Senior-friendly remodeling requires careful accessibility considerations. For example, a senior-friendly bathroom should include accommodations for wheelchairs, walkers, unsteady balance, and medical equipment. Implementing these accommodations in your next bathroom remodel may allow you to keep your elderly loved ones at home longer, rather than a senior living facility.
This article will cover some of the various design considerations you should keep in mind when creating a senior-friendly bathroom remodel.
THE NEED FOR A SENIOR-FRIENDLY BATHROOM REMODEL
As our loved ones age, their need for care increases. When we can no longer meet those needs as caretakers, additional aid is required to prevent an elderly loved from being forced to move to an external facility for safety concerns. Bathrooms are full of safety hazards for seniors. Fortunately, those hazards can be fixed by undergoing a senior-friendly bathroom remodel.
Even if you do not currently support an elderly loved one in your home, consider whether you may in the near future. Future-proofing your home for the sustained care of your senior family members is a kind and caring consideration that you’ll undoubtedly come to appreciate.
Bathrooms are particularly precarious environments for seniors. Unfortunately, the conditions of a bathroom are ripe for dangerous trips and falls. Elderly people cannot sustain trips and falls without experiencing severe bodily damage.
Sitting down and standing up from a toilet is just one of the many steps of using a bathroom that can result in harmful outcomes for a senior. Stepping into and out of showers, bending at the sink, and even simply walking across the bathroom floor can be a risky move for an elderly person. This is why senior-friendly bathroom remodels are so critical.
A senior-friendly bathroom should be easy to enter, easy to walk around in, and should have multiple accessibilities supports to keep them steady as they go about their business. Let’s start with one of the most important bathroom staples: the shower.
You’ll quickly notice a trend as we run through these various senior-friendly bathrooms remodels – and that’s accommodating for the proper dimensions and space needed for safe navigation via a wheelchair or walker. Even the doorway into the bathroom itself needs to be wide enough. The shower is no different.
Unfortunately, most showers are designed to be more compact with a curb at the bottom of the entryway. This curb creates a very dangerous falling risk for seniors. If your elderly loved one cannot lift their leg high enough, their foot will catch on that curb and cause them to fall. Falls for seniors can be medically devastating.
Additionally, if your elderly loved one utilizes a wheelchair or walker to move around, they will be entirely unable to enter the shower safely without direct assistance. This is an unnecessary difficulty that can be easily fixed.
This is why you should consider a curbless walk-in shower for your senior-friendly bathroom remodel. Curbless showers offer accessibility for seniors of any mobility level – whether they are in wheelchairs, walkers, or still walking. Curbless showers remove one of the greatest falling risks in your home.
Our specialists at the USA Cabinet Store will help you find the perfect curbless shower to accommodate your senior loved ones. We even offer free design quotes for senior-friendly bathroom remodels – so contact us today to get a better understanding of the costs associated with moving to a curbless shower.
One last consideration must be made before deciding on which shower to implement in your senior-friendly remodel: the size and dimensions. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires certain dimensions for a safe home. The requirement is a 5-foot turning radius for wheelchair users.
To create a senior-friendly shower, you will want to ensure that the entryway door is at least 5-feet wide. Additionally, it is a good idea to implement those dimensions inside the shower as well. In fact, we would even recommend getting a wider shower than that to make room for supporting shower accessories.
Let’s look at some of the shower accessories that can help create a more senior-friendly shower.
WALL SUPPORTS FOR SENIORS
When you begin planning for your senior-friendly bathroom remodel, you’ll want to make sure that a wall support is included in the shower. Grab bars offer superior support for elderly people with unsteady balance.
We recommend implementing several grab bars throughout the bathroom – with at least one inside the shower itself. However, to provide the safest showering experience, we fully recommend installing grab bars on all three shower walls, if possible.
SHOWER SEATS FOR SENIORS
A shower seat is an absolute necessity for a senior-friendly bathroom remodel. Traditional showers are usually designed for stand-up washing. However, we know that elderly people are notoriously unsteady on their feet. When you include running water, slippery surfaces, and steam, you have a recipe for disaster.
Include a shower seat to provide your elderly loved one with a stable resting place to wash without the fear of slipping and falling.
ADJUSTABLE SHOWER HEADS FOR SENIORS
You’ll also want to include an adjustable shower head in your senior-friendly shower remodel. Stationary shower heads only expel water in a particular direction from above. This makes washing your body very difficult when you are sitting down.
To accommodate for this difficulty, an adjustable shower head is a necessity. It will allow your elderly loved one to sit securely on their shower seat and wash their body thoroughly without having to move around.
NON-SLIP SHOWER MATS FOR SENIORS
Lastly, we recommend including a non-slip mat made for the shower. This will provide a sturdy, grippable foundation for your elderly loved one to navigate on while inside the shower. This is a very cheap DIY accessibility addition to any senior-friendly bathroom remodel.
SENIOR-FRIENDLY WALK-IN TUBS
While showers offer great chances for mobility and easy washing, they are certainly more dangerous than a walk-in bathtub. Walk-in bathtubs offer incredible bathing experiences in a safe, contained environment.
If you currently have a lay-in bathtub, you’ll need to consider making the move to a walk-in tub for a senior-friendly bathroom remodel. Lay-in bathtubs include multiple risky access points that increase the risk of slipping and falling.
Walk-in bathtubs, on the other hand, allows safe, secure bathing for the elderly. There is no climbing over the edge of the slippery bathtub any longer. Walk-in tubs let seniors enter the tub while it is dry, close the door, fill and bathe, and drain all of the water before having to exit the tub.
Another important consideration in a senior-friendly bathroom remodel is the cabinetry and vanity. Most traditional vanities are not created with wheelchair users in mind.
To create a safe, usable bathroom for the elderly, you’ll need to ensure there is at least 27-inches of clearance underneath the vanity. You’ll also want to move the sink to reside at least 32-34 inches to allow wheelchair users to access the faucets. Additionally, you’ll want to move the mirror and countertops down as well.
Regarding additional storage throughout the bathroom, compact and low-to-the-ground cabinetry is ideal, here. During a senior-friendly bathroom remodel, you’ll want to ensure that every point in the bathroom is reachable for seniors in wheelchairs or walkers.
Our bathroom remodeling specialists at the USA Cabinet Store will help you find the perfect cabinetry and vanity setup that is accessible for your elderly loved ones.
The toilet is another crucial area of consideration for any senior-friendly bathroom. Sitting down and standing up for elderly people is a difficult task. Conducting business on a traditional toilet also includes frequent movements for proper wiping hygiene. There is often plenty of risk for slips and falls.
We recommend moving away from a traditional toilet to a bidet toilet during your bathroom remodel. This creates a safer, more dignifying bathroom experience. You also want to ensure that the toilet is only 17-inches off of the floor for accessibility. Lastly, please install an additional grab bar or two near the toilet to allow safe standing and sitting.
SENIOR-FRIENDLY BATHROOM FLOORING
Lastly, consider redoing your bathroom flooring during a senior-friendly bathroom remodel. Many bathrooms have ceramic tiling or slippery surfaces. Tiling makes navigation difficult for wheelchair usage and walking, while slippery floors increase the risk of a fall.
We recommend utilizing a rough-textured material like wooden panels or dimpled vinyl. This will provide a grippable surface for your elderly loved ones to navigate around without fear of slipping. Additionally, adding a few non-slip mats near risky areas like the sink, shower, and toilet is a great budget-friendly way to make your bathroom remodel even more accommodating.
FREE SENIOR-FRIENDLY REMODELING DESIGN QUOTES FROM THE USA CABINET STORE
We understand how crucial it is to have a safe bathroom for the elderly. As you can see, there are plenty of considerations to keep in mind when undergoing a senior-friendly bathroom remodel.
Utilize our free design quotes to make things simple. Our specialists at the USA Cabinet Store will help you mix and match the right appliances, cabinetry, and supports necessary for a safe bathroom experience. Contact us today to learn more!
Call us today to schedule an appointment or ask for a free estimate and design. You can also check us on Houzz anytime.