Whether you’re getting older yourself or want to help out a loved one, adapting bathrooms to meet the needs of the elderly gives peace of mind that the vulnerable members of your family are kept safe. Here are our top tips to create a bathroom suitable for seniors.
1. Protect Against Potential Hazards
With 81% of injuries suffered by people over 85 because of slips and falls, safety is the most important factor in designing a bathroom for seniors (Shower Bay, 2017).
One of the most effective ways to limit the risk of slips and falls is to install grab bars and railings. These grab bars and railings should be placed around key areas of your bathroom such as in and round shower cubicles and along walls and near the toilet. These will allow the senior to move more confidently around the bathroom and significantly reduce their risk of falling.
Non-slip rugs and bath mats are another vitally important addition. Placing mats strategically throughout the bathroom as well as inside and outside of the shower will prevent elderly users from falling while they are washing themselves.
2. Ensure There Is Enough Space
When creating a senior friendly bathroom, it is vital that there is enough space to accomodate for wheelchairs, canes, walkers and other assistive devices. Any bathroom clutter, like weight scales, should be stored away to eliminate hazards.
It is also important to ensure that bathroom fixtures, such as toilets, are easily reachable. Having a toilet that is not the proper height can increase the risk of a senior struggling to reach it and falling over. This can be prevented by either replacing the toilet completely or purchasing a seat extender.
3. Increase Ease of Access
You can also take steps to ensure that bathrooms are easy to use and a simple place for seniors to take of themselves in. The bathroom sink should be high enough off of the floor to facilitate wheelchair access and the taps should be easy to use and manoeuvre.
Curbless walk-in showers are also a good idea. These showers are easier to clean without the added alcove and lack any sort of raised section to step over, meaning that there is no straining to get into the bathroom.
Adjustable shower heads are also a great way to improve shower accessibility. The shower head moves to suit the height and position that is most comfortable for the user, meaning that seniors are able to have a shower that suits their mobility. To add greater accessibility, a shower seat can be installed as well to compliment the adjustable shower head.
Through these preventative measures, you can create a bathroom that has maximum safety for seniors and minimises the chances of serious injury.