Aging is an inevitable part of life and there will come a time when our loved ones find it harder to do the simple things in life, such as take a bath or hop into the shower. When this time comes, it is essential they have a bathroom that is suitable for their needs, particularly if they have serious mobility issues. So what design features should be included in a bathroom for an elderly person?
Room to Manoeuvre
A lot of older people are reliant on mobility aids to get around. Some may use a walker or cane, but others need a wheelchair. All of these things require extra space, so if you are planning a bathroom renovation for an older person, make sure the room is large enough accommodate mobility aids and that there is plenty of room between each piece of bathroom furniture.
Safety in the bathroom is very important, but for seniors who may be unsteady on their feet, safety should be paramount. Grab rails are very useful in a bathroom designed for an elderly person. Grab rails are easily installed and can help a senior reach a standing position if they are seated in the bath, or aid balance if they are standing in the shower. It costs very little to install a grab rail next to a toilet or in a shower, so install as many as you think will be necessary to ensure the safety of the person using the bathroom.
Walk in Baths
Standard bathtubs are not always suitable for seniors with mobility problems, so it may be worth replacing an existing bath with a specially designed walk in tub. But if this isn’t practical from a budget perspective, make sure you apply an anti-slip mat or coating to the bottom of the bath and install grab rails along the edge.
Easy to Use Sinks
Pay attention to tap designs when refitting a bathroom. Lever style taps are easier to use for people with arthritis and grip problems. Water temperature also needs to be carefully controlled to prevent any nasty scalding accidents.
Raised Toilet Seats
Toilets are typically fairly low on the ground. For most people this isn’t a problem, but for a senior who struggles to sit down, it can be a real issue. Luckily there are plenty of ways to adjust the height of a toilet in a senior’s bathroom. You could purchase a specially designed toilet with a raised seat, but a cheaper option is to use a seat extender instead. Fitting a grab rail next to the toilet will also be helpful.
Other Useful Design Features
Apart from aesthetic considerations such as designer radiators and LED bathroom lighting, it is worth installing non-slip flooring and a door that can easily be unlocked from the outside in case of emergencies.
Bathrooms for seniors don’t have to resemble something you might see in a hospital. As long as you pay attention to safety issues, it is perfectly possibly to design an attractive bathroom that is user friendly for a person with mobility issues.