As people grow older, the bathroom becomes one of the dangerous areas at home. This is because most seniors struggle with health issues, developing mobility and visual challenges. The room that they once used without struggle suddenly becomes a space prone to dangerous falls that are painful and costly to treat. That is why if you are an elderly person or a young person who often hosts elderly guests, remodeling the bathroom for aesthetic purposes should be the last thing on your mind. The most important reason for a bathroom remodel should be to make it secure for you or your guests. Here are five secure remodel ideas with seniors in mind.
1. Add safe shower features
There are several changes that you can make in the shower area to enhance the security of senior family members. One of them is investing in a tub that has a door on the side. This makes it easy to get in the tub without raising their legs as in the traditional tubs. Only that they have to sit in the tub for it to fill and empty when done. Another great addition is a shower seat. This allows the seniors to shower when seated, eliminating the need to stand for an extended period. You might also need to consider adding an adjustable hand-held shower head which can be lowered to the sitting level. In addition, consider adding a walk-in shower without steps or any flooring elevation.
You will need the help of professionals to make such changes.
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If you are in Sacramento, for instance, consider working with bathroom remodeling contractors for an outstanding bathroom remodel in Sacramento with the touch of experts.
2. Anti-slippery flooring
Most bathroom falls are caused by wet slippery floors. You can reduce the risk of falling by adding non-slip bathroom mats in wet areas such as near the sink and inside and outside the shower. Besides preventing the seniors from stepping on slippery tiles, they also act as visual cues for people with poor depth perception. Another option is to replace the tiles with rubber flooring. This material doesn’t get slippery when wet and it also provides some cushion in the event of a fall.
3. Increase maneuverability
Seniors with mobility issues as well as those using a wheelchair can find it difficult to move around in a cramped bathroom. Ensure that there is ample room around the tub, toilet and cabinets. It is also very important to leave the areas under the sink empty for the wheelchair to slide in for ease of use for wheelchair users. In addition, consider replacing doors that open into the bathroom as they take additional space. You can use a pocket door that slides into the wall to save on space and increase the room for easier maneuvering. It is also very important to widen the door so that people using a wheelchair or a walker can easily enter and leave the bathroom.
4. Adjust the height of the toilet, sink, and counters
Sitting and standing up can be challenging for seniors. For this reason, it is good to adjust the height of the toilet upwards for people who may be having this challenge. You can replace the toilet altogether if the budget allows. If that’s not an option, consider buying a toilet seat extension to raise the height of the existing toilet. When it comes to sinks and counters, elderly people who use a wheelchair might have a difficult time using them if they are raised up too high. Consider lowering them a bit for ease of use.
5. Add supportive features
Supportive features in the bathroom are important for seniors with a poor balance. They need something strong that they can grab to steady themselves when using the bathroom.
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Consider adding grab bars on the area around the toilet and on the shower wall. Most importantly, ensure that the grab bars are grip-resistant and that they are firmly secured on the wall. Alternatively, you can install a tension pole – a floor-to-ceiling metal rod in the said areas. This one is especially a better choice if you have fiberglass or acrylic tubs as they can easily crack when fitted with grab bars.
The bathroom is a private space for everyone. This means that there is a possibility of no one being around to help the seniors struggling to use a bathroom. This gives more reason why it is important to create a secure space that they can use independently. Consider working with an expert who can advise on the areas where you can do some adjustments.
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Otherwise, the above five remodel ideas are a good place to start.