Top 5 Updates To Make A Bathroom More Accessible As You Age

by | Miscellaneous

Nothing beats the comfort of growing old in the house that you made into a home. As we age, our needs change, which can make living at home challenging for some elderly people. Remodeling the bathroom to make it more accessible for an aging person is pivotal for creating a comfortable living space. This area of the house is where most accidents can happen. 

It’s best to plan ahead for what your bathroom will need to accommodate an aging person. Start making the changes in preparation rather than waiting until the need for a remodel is crucial. Here are some considerations to make for transforming your bathroom into a more accessible space.

1. New Doorways and Doors

Getting around the house can become a bit more difficult as we age. Therefore, many seniors move about their homes with the aid of a walker or wheelchair. 

These devices tend to be slightly wider than the average doorway, which can make going to and from the bathroom more challenging. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a doorway should be at least 34 inches wide to fit a wheelchair. 

Turning doorknobs can be challenging for those with arthritis. They can also be difficult to reach when seated in a wheelchair. You may want to consider a sliding door or installing a lever instead of a doorknob. 

2. Raise the Sink

Floating vanities have become a top bathroom remodel trend in St. Louis. However, they are also practical for those who are aging.

People sitting in a wheelchair may have trouble reaching down to the faucet. A floating vanity raises the sink up to the person’s chest level, which allows them to wash their hands with ease.

The top of the sink should be around 34-36 inches from the floor. Meanwhile, the bottom of the vanity should have 27 inches of room. This extra space will allow the wheelchair to get in and out without getting stuck. To ensure proper measurements, make sure you hire a licensed contractor in St. Louis.

3. Swap the Tub for a Curbless Shower

Stepping up and into a tub requires balance, strength, and motor function. Many of these faculties start to slide as we age. That’s why falling while getting in and out of the shower is one of the most common causes of injuries for seniors.

In anticipation of aging, it’s best to replace your tub with a shower. Opt for a zero-threshold shower so that you can walk or wheel directly inside. This type of shower has a sloped floor that allows for drainage. 

You should also look into getting a detachable showerhead and a shower chair. These additions to your shower routine will help you live as autonomously as possible. 

4. Upgrade the Lighting

Many slips and falls can be attributed to poor eyesight. Our eyesight naturally declines as we age. We might become less aware of our periphery, which can cause collisions with sinks, slips in the bathroom, and more. Increase that visibility by upgrading your bathroom lighting.

Recessed lighting is a great option for the bathroom. It provides the person using the facilities with the autonomy they deserve to choose the right setting for them.

Dimmers could be difficult to maneuver for those with arthritis. Instead, you might want to install a tap light. Some tap lights have settings where you change the light intensity. This feature is an excellent compromise for those who can’t operate a dimming system effectively. 

5. Install Grab Bars

Balance loss is a primary culprit for elderly falls. The chances of slipping increase when you encounter wet floors, towels on the ground, and other potential fall risks. Grab bars can be a genuine lifesaver in the bathroom.

Make sure to install grab bars near the toilet so that you can get up and down without losing balance. You should also consider getting grab bars installed on three sides of the shower. That way, you have support no matter where you turn.

Grab bars should be about 36 inches long. They should extend 12 inches from the centerline of a shower chair or toilet seat. The remaining bar space accommodates various arm lengths to ensure multiple people can use the bars. 

Many bathrooms have tile walls. These are very durable materials, which makes installing grab bars tough. Make sure you hire a licensed contractor in St. Louis who has the tools necessary to install grab bars safely in your bathroom. 

Start safe-proofing your house for decades to come. Speak to a Mosby Building Arts about Universal Design and Aging-in-Place.