Taking a shower or bath might not seem like a difficult feat for many people, but for individuals who are aging in the comfort of their home, it’s not always an easy task. Fortunately, there are practical steps that can help you achieve an aging in place bathroom design, making your bath or shower experience safer and more enjoyable.
So how do you ensure your safety and wellbeing when you’re in the bathroom? It starts with evaluating your space and your own capabilities. You might not realize it, but stability, mobility, and good vision are all needed to successfully and safely complete your daily bathroom routine, which is why an aging in place bathroom design is so critical.
Not sure where to start? Our DwellAssured 360-Degree Age In Place Home Assessment can help you determine what safety features are required, or what home improvements are needed in order to live happily and securely.
Safety First, How To Avoid Falls
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in four Americans who are age 65 and older will experience a fall each year. While growing old in your home is a wonderful option for aging adults, preventing falls in the home is a must. In fact, most injuries—both minor and fatal—are known to occur in the bathroom.
An aging in place bathroom starts with tools like grab bars, slip-resistant bathmats and rugs, and transfer benches or chairs, so seniors can enjoy daily activities—like bathing—without the fear of hurting themselves.
If you aren’t sure if you need a grab bar, AARP suggests paying attention to where you place your hand the next time you step into the bath or shower. If you find yourself using the wall for extra support, that’s a good indication that you need a grab bar. Since you will be placing your weight on these supportive bars, it’s a good idea to stick with bolted devices—which will ensure security and strength.
Falls can also occur when stepping in and out of your bath or shower. Buying a quality non-slip bathmat or rug helps to prevent unnecessary movement, meaning a sounder execution when entering or exiting the tub or shower.
Still finding it difficult to balance when entering your tub? Transfer benches are an excellent addition to any aging in place bathroom design. Sitting down to enter the bath significantly lessens the possibilities of falls or slips—meaning you can worry less and enjoy more!
Eliminate Strain With Bath & Shower Seating
If getting into the tub or shower is too strenuous, or you find it difficult to stand for a prolonged period of time, bath or shower seating is a necessity.
With options like benches or chairs, you can sit down and bathe, eliminating strain or preventable tension on your body. According to Uplifting Mobility, you should “opt for a chair that has rubber tips on the legs, which will provide the non-slip grip and prevent the chair from slipping.”
Easy Ways To Access Your Necessities
In your aging in place bathroom design, accessibility is key. If stepping over a tub is too difficult, there are options like walk-in bathtubs or removing the tub completely and transitioning to a shower instead.
Handheld shower heads also make it easier to clean yourself—especially if you are using a chair or bench in your shower. If you are making the switch from tub to shower, a removable shower head may be the way to go. Also, moving your products—like shampoo and body wash—to a reachable location is essential and will make the process easier and safer.
Lastly, features such as lever handles—instead of rounded knobs—and better lighting might be simple enhancements that can make a huge difference. Senior Safety Advice suggests using rounded knobs—which are often hard to grip, making it difficult to adjust the water temperature, or even turn the water off or on! A lever-style handle removes the struggle and is much simpler to use. Also, upgrading your bathroom lighting, like adding a fixture over your tub or shower, can significantly brighten your space, making it easier to see what you are doing.
Is it time to safeguard your bathroom? Visit our DwellAssured-Certified Service Provider Network to view some of the top home improvement experts and service providers who you can trust to enter your home and provide the best aging in place bathroom design!
- National Council On Aging
- Uplifting Mobility
- Senior Safety Advice