For the most part as people get older their home loses a little bit of its functionality. We’ve all heard of the 89-year-old superhero who hits the tread mill and the Universal machine for 4 hours before he even has his morning coffee, but many senior citizens have been limited to living on only one floor of their house. While some rooms might be used less and less as a person gets up in age, there is one room that will see perhaps even more traffic in a senior citizen’s home: the bathroom. Safety is a concern in all parts of the house but most of all in the restroom where slips and falls can be especially critical. These tried and true bathroom renovations for seniors will help make the washroom easily accessible and, most importantly, safe to use.
Ground Floor Bathroom
It’s not always the easiest renovation but making sure there’s a restroom on the ground floor is the one that’s perhaps the most rewarding for senior citizens. Having to climb stairs 5-10 times a day to go to the restroom presents a big risk for a fall every single day. The bathroom in itself is a safety hazard and elders shouldn’t be in jeopardy of injury just trying to get there.
Bathroom Grab Bars
Grab bars all around the bathroom provide a huge assistance to seniors. Within the shower, grab bars can be installed underneath the water head, on the adjacent wall, and on the outside for assistance getting in. The bars should be drilled into a stud or fashioned with an anchoring device so they support upwards of 250 pounds. You should also pay special attention when installing the bars into tile, to avoid damages to the surrounding area. In addition to the tub area, grab bars also help in getting onto and off the toilet and can come in handy by the sink as well.
Cleaned and Cleared Out
It’s not really a renovation per se but the bathroom should be cleaned out of any hampers, cabinets, shelves, and accessories so that the room is as open and spacious as possible. Adding to this could involve removing a large sink vanity for a more open, free-standing model or even changing the layout of the bathroom to be more elderly-accessible. Some senior citizens need an open plan for possible wheelchair access or to move around freely with a cane or walker.
A Shower Seat
Installing a shower seat provides a huge assistance to seniors for washing themselves. Shower chairs can be purchased for easy removal but benches can be built right into the corner or wall of a shower for added luxury and safety. The shower seat is framed right into the wall of the bathroom and tiled over for a seamless integration.
Install a Tub Cut
Standard bathtubs can be retrofitted with an open step to convert them into a walk-in shower. Together with a grab bar, this innovation can ease some of the pain required for seniors to step up and over into the tub. Of course you lose the functionality of the actual tub because of the big opening in the side but baths are becoming a thing of the past anyway with the push for water preservation. With this type of renovation the bathtub is cut into and then the sharp edges covered up while a slip resistant step is installed. Many families opt for this convenience even without seniors in the house because of the unique look and added convenience.
Raised Toilet Seat
Toilet seats can also be renovated to make their access easier for senior citizens. The special seats are higher to make getting on and off easier and some have handles adorning each side for an even smoother transition.
Skid Mats Everywhere
Another simple solution to help reduce bathroom falls is to lay slip-resistant mats around the bathtub, sink, and toilet. A wet tiled floor can be dangerous for even the most able-bodied individual, but especially for those with limited mobility. Of course, the mats may impede a walker or wheelchair so their placement needs to be evaluated.