7 Tips for a Senior Friendly Bathroom Design

Senior Bathroom Makeover

If you are a Senior or have one living with you, these tips will be helpful in reducing the risk of injuries from falls.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), at least 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 falls each year.  The National Institute on Aging reports that 80% of all falls in the home occurs in the BATHROOM. Warrior Plumbing and Heating can make any bathroom safer and easier to use for Seniors or those with limited mobility. If you’d just like handrails installed or a complete remodel, please Contact Us and we’ll get started on your project right away!

7 Tips for a Senior Friendly Bathroom Design

Swap out the Bathtub

There are many reasons to swap out a standard bathtub with a walk-in type.  The main reasons are for the safety and convenience of seniors or those with limited mobility. Even with handrails, getting in and out of a standard bathtub can be risky for some people. Walk-in bathtubs are the safest option for unassisted and assisted bathers.

There are many different styles of walk-in bathtubs to choose from and prices have been decreasing as their popularity has grown. In Maryland, Warrior Plumbing can help you select and install the perfect walk-in bathtub for your needs.

Convert your Shower

People don’t often think that a standard shower can be a safety issue. For some though, having to step over even a small threshold can increase the risk of a dangerous fall. Senior-friendly showers come in many configurations and there are conversion kits available as well.

The components of a senior friendly shower can include a beveled threshold which allows for wheelchair or walker access, a bench, grab bars, handrails, support poles, a slip-resistant floor, a hand-held shower spray (accessible from the bench), an anti-scald valve, and more.

Raise the Toilet

The height of a standard toilet seat is often too low for ease of use by many seniors. This is also the case for anyone with back, hip, or knee problems. Having handrails can help but raising your toilet is an even better option.  New raised toilets are not expensive and there are no special installation requirements.

There are many raised seats which can be used with existing toilets. Depending on your needs, this could be the best option. If this bathroom will be used by seniors extensively, or if the home is in a senior living community, replacing the toilet with a toilet that has a raised seat often makes the most sense and can even add value to the property.

Manage the Lighting

Seniors will manage better in bathrooms with even lighting on all surfaces. Bathrooms which only have strong overhead lighting can produce shadows which can make it difficult to navigate or find items. Wall mounted light fixtures can provide an even distribution of light. High gloss finishes with paint and countertops should be avoided as these can produce glare and can also be confusing for the visually impaired.

Change out your Flooring

Smooth floors in bathrooms look elegant but are dangerously slick when wet.  Throw rugs or mats can help but they can also be a tripping risk. The best option for a safe bathroom flooring is a slip-resistant, cushioned material such as Rubber. Rubber flooring is available as rolls or tiles but is more expensive than other options. The advantages of using Rubber as bathroom flooring is that it is both slip and moisture-resistant and offers the most cushion in case of a fall. But as we mentioned, it is also expensive and there are limited designs as compared to Vinyl or Tile flooring. Slip-resistant Vinyl is a very good option and is much easier on the budget.  Vinyl is easy to maintain, comes in many styles, and offers more cushion than tile in case of a fall.

Add in Handrails and Grab Bars

Handrails can make a senior’s life much easier and safer. Having something to hold onto when getting up from the toilet, bath, or shower bench allows for greater independence. A sturdy well-placed handrail either outside of the bathroom or anywhere there is a step or incline will make your bathroom more Senior or limited mobility friendly.

Declutter the Room

Our last tip is often overlooked when it comes to maintaining a safe environment for Seniors or those with limited mobility. The floor is the most important area when it comes to removing clutter. Trash cans need to be kept under a cabinet, doorstops should not be used, and all items should be kept out of the walking path. Throw rugs can be a tripping hazard and should be avoided in the senior or limited mobility friendly home.

In need of a Baltimore area plumber? Contact Warrior Plumbing and Heating today to make your bathroom safe!