Renovating a Bathroom for Elders? Few important things to consider

As we grow older, our mobility is impacted for more reasons than one. Many of us may be confined to one room or one floor at best depending on individual physical abilities or the lack of it. But, one space that gains the greatest importance for seniors is the bathroom. This is also the area that will see higher traffic than any time in the past. That brings in the question of renovating one or more bathrooms for elders. Let us now examine some of the major attributes that make the bathrooms safer and more convenient for the seniors.

1. Convenient 

Bathrooms are private spaces with ample slippery surface. By making special provisions in the bathrooms for the seniors, we can not only avoid potential accidents but also make the area more convenient and secure for their use.

2. Non-slip/skid bathroom mats

This is perhaps the most inexpensive part of a bathroom renovation for seniors. The surface of the shower and outside is among the wettest areas in a bathroom. When you place no slip mats both inside and outside the shower area, it prevents stepping on the wet and slippery tiles apart from providing a visual clue for the elders whose perception of depth may be sick. Adhesive strips, close to the sink, is another space where the tiles tend to get wet and can provide better grip for the elders.

3. Supports

Seniors can have problems balancing themselves when they are standing erect, getting up from the toilet seat, moving in or out of the shower area, etc. The natural tendency is to grab a towel rack, curtain rod in the shower area, a wall-mounted sink or anything that can grip on to. But, sadly none of these fixtures is designed to take on the weight of an individual. Grab bars around the shower enclosure, and the toilet area can provide the elders with the safety they badly need. But, you should ensure that these grab bars are firmly grouted to the wall using bolts rather than suction cups. Similar is the case with tubs and grab bars that can be mounted directly to the rim of the container serve the purpose better.

3. Vertical pole

A vertical pole or tension pole is a metal rod that is erected with firm grouting to the floor as well as ceiling and can be alternative to the grab bars, when feasible. The idea is to provide a stable support structure for the elders in the middle of the bathroom. Tension poles are also familiar with fibreglass/acrylic tubs since the grab bars mounted on such containers tend to crack the container.

5. Lighting

Fumbling for the bathroom switches in mid night may not be a beneficial action for the elders. Reliable night lights (LED is a good option), or sensor based lighting is ideal. Sensor based lights come on when the door is opened and shut out when the door is closed.  It is equally important to provide appropriate lighting and a clear path to the bathroom.

6. Toilet seats

Are the toilet seats suitable for the elders at home, or visiting relatives? Some people may have problems using a standard toilet seat. Several variants are safe for the seniors, and if you can have one with a locking mechanism or one that has grab bars for added safety, you can add to the security and safety of your elders. This can be particularly relevant if the seniors are also obese/overweight.

7. Moving space

Some of the older bathrooms can have cramped spaces, and the elderly may have difficulty walking around. If one or more seniors at home also use a wheelchair for mobility, you will need to pay particular attention to moving space within the bathroom. If the bathroom needs remodelling to accommodate these special needs, you should ensure that space is clutter free and all storage facilities and other unnecessary fixtures are removed. Further, take care of the tiles on the bathroom floor. Conventional tiles are pretty slippery, and when you have traces of soap or shampoo, it is an invitation to avoidable accidents. Getting the bathroom floor redone with skid free tiles will add to the security of the seniors.

8. Shower seatShower Seat

Providing a shower seat is an excellent idea when the bathroom is tailored for the use of elders. Seniors may have difficulty standing for the duration of a shower and bath seat makes it far more comfortable for them.

9. Accessibility

Many seniors experience mobility problems. Having to move from one floor of the house to another to access the bathroom is not a bright idea when seniors are involved.  Remember that seniors may also need to use the bathroom more frequently than the younger folk. Therefore, keeping the accessibility to the bathroom as close as possible is essential.

10. Exclusivity

Keeping one bathroom exclusively for the use of seniors will avert many unpleasant incidents. Children mainly do not take adequate care to maintain the bathroom clean and dry, and it is left to the elders to handle that part of the job. If children can be kept away from the bathroom used by seniors, it helps everyone to stay safe and secure.  Keeping the space dry is another factor that will add to the safety of the elders.

Many of the measures outlined above need not necessarily wait till you undertake a full-scale bathroom renovation. It is necessary to contact a professional renovation organization such as Concept Bathrooms to get all the advice for renovation.Remember that in most situations, once inside the bathroom, seniors are nearly helpless and that makes it all the more essential that we consider a broad range of safety elements for them. For instance, the seniors can be requested not to bolt the bathroom door from inside. This way other members at home will gain quick access to space when needed. Start to modify your home to meet seniors’ demand. Here are some examples for you to see the result of the renovation.