Given the option, most of us would rather “age in place.” That is, remain in our existing homes as we grow older, rather than moving to some sort of retirement or health community. This is excellent for a person’s overall morale and mental health, but it can present challenges if a home wasn’t designed around the needs of seniors.
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house for older people – but it doesn’t have to be. With a bathroom remodel, you can affordably add necessary safety measures.
If there’s one all-important bathroom upgrade that should happen before any others, it’s the addition of safety rails around the bathtub/shower and toilet. Slipping injuries are extremely common in bathrooms among people of all ages, but particularly seniors. Additionally, safety rails aid in mobility, such as sitting and standing up.
Floors are another source of hazard for anyone using a bathroom, seniors included. There are a couple of options here. Some people opt for carpeting since it does the most to prevent slipping, although it does require some extra upkeep. Changing the surface to something more ‘grippy’ is another option. Many types of stonework, for example, are much less slippery when wet than typical bathroom tiles.
Raised shower and toilet seats
If standing or sitting are issues for the senior in your life, there are relatively affordable solutions for that. Seats in the shower allow them to sit down when washing, further removing opportunities for slipping. Toilets, on the other hand, can be modified with raised seats which don’t require them to fully sit down.
Will climbing over the edge of a bathtub be an issue? Convert the bathtub/shower into a walk-in model. Adding a small door to the side of the bathtub allows seniors to walk straight into the shower, without the need to climb over the side.
Ground floor bathroom
Finally, if the bathroom is on the second floor, moving it to the ground floor will be a major safety improvement. This will significantly reduce the number of stairs a senior has to climb up and down per day! Of course, it’s also the most expensive bathroom renovation, but a game changer for some seniors.