Bathroom Remodel for Seniors: Safe & Stylish Design Ideas
Many senior adults have age-related impairments that can affect how easily and effectively they access the bathroom.
For people who have lost strength and mobility, using any standard bathroom can prove to be a safety hazard. Slips and falls in bathtubs and showers are the most frequent type of bathroom accidents. A contributing factor is perpetually wet floors, poor lighting, and poorly accessible shelves and cabinets.
Another issue you don’t often consider when you’re young is room to move. A lot of older adults end up needing a mobility aid of some sort like a wheelchair or walker. As such, they need quite a bit of room to navigate hallways and doorways properly.
So, here are some senior-friendly bathroom renovations that will allow the older adult in your life to age in place – and in dignity. Here are our recommendations for a bathroom remodel for seniors.
Bathroom Safety Improvements for Older Adults
1. Improve the location of the bathroom
Most seniors have trouble with stairs. For people that live alone, constantly going up and down the stairs could be dangerous as it increases the risk of tripping. Adding a bathroom to the ground floor can reduce this risk. In fact, it’s advisable to have a bathroom on every level of your home if you stay in a multi-story home.
Sure, adding an entire bathroom is a major renovation, but it’s a worthwhile undertaking considering how many times you need to use the bathroom in a day.
If it’s not possible to have a bathroom on the ground floor, there are several ways you can make stairs safe for seniors. These are:
- Installing a stairlift – They don’t damage walls, can be installed in a day, and can be stowed in such a way that others can use the stairs as normal.
- Add railings on both sides.
- Design a resting spot on a landing or curve if the stairs are too many.
- Remove carpet runners as they’re a tripping hazard, and add non-slip strips to the stairs.
For seniors with vision difficulties, improving lighting in stairwells may not be enough to ensure safety. Consider painting the stairs contrasting colors to make it easier to tell where one step ends, and another begins.
2. Make the bathroom and doorways bigger
Think about the wheelchair-accessible stalls you see in public restrooms. They have to be big enough to accommodate mobility aids. The doorways are also wider than normal to allow wheelchair users to easily roll in and out. These are the same considerations you should make when bathroom remodeling for seniors.
Don’t forget that the door should always open outwards to ensure the door can still be opened in the event of an emergency.
3. Raise the height of the toilet seat
For people with reduced mobility, raised toilet seats make it easier to stand up and sit down. Similarly, mirrors and sinks should be placed at lower heights so that they can be used from a wheelchair. For a toilet to be accessible, all amenities must be within reach for wheelchair uses, including toilet paper, soap and paper towels.
Also, consider installing a bidet to the existing toilet seat to help seniors maintain good hygiene.
Work with an experienced bathroom designer to make all the necessary adjustments and ensure that the bathroom is still aesthetically pleasing.
4. Improve the lighting
Impaired vision often accompanies old age. For this reason, you’ll find most seniors unable to see well in low light levels. While you may like the ambiance of mood lighting, it’s important to use brighter light fixtures for safety.
Natural lighting is a great way to improve the safety of a bathroom during the day. It eliminates shadows and prevents unnecessary bumps and bruises. You can also brighten up a bathroom by adding more mirrors and reflective surfaces.
5. Make the process of bathing safer
The traditional tub/shower combo may save on space but will have seniors struggling as they climb over the edge of the tub. It can also make the process of bathing riskier for older adults.
Curbless or walk-in showers are a great option if you’re looking to make your bathroom safer and easier to use.
If you’re making updates for someone who prefers baths over showers, consider installing a walk-in bathtub with water-tight doors. It adds a luxurious spa-like feel to the bathroom and is considerably safer than a regular tub.
Here are a few other ways you can make showering safer:
- Put a non-slip mat in the shower
- Install a shower seat and a hand-held showerhead that’s flexible enough to accommodate everyone’s showering needs
- Install grab bars in the shower and on the wall around the toilet to give seniors something to steady themselves with should they have poor balance
Furthermore, ensure all shower items from shampoos to drawers are easily accessible – doing so prevents you or your loved ones from losing balance on a wet floor when stretching or bending to reach something.
Safety First Design with Avery Construction for a Bathroom Remodel for Seniors
Accessible bathroom design doesn’t have to result in an institutional-looking bathroom. Partner with experienced bathroom contractors to create a breathtaking yet accessible bathroom for the senior in your life.
At Avery Home Remodeling, we specialize in bathroom remodeling and kitchen remodeling services. Contact us for all your residential renovation needs.