As we move into the second half of life, we notice that our needs begin to shift, especially within our home. What was important when you had young children is not nearly as important when you become an empty nester. As you continue to progress into the senior years of life, those needs can shift even more, particularly if you plan to age in place.
Safety can often become a concern for seniors. One of the first areas of the home that requires change is the bathroom. The bathroom is a place that offers many instances of safety hazards. Solutions to these concerns are plentiful and can be done in an aesthetically appealing way with the help of the right contractor and design team. NJW Renovations Unlimited has extensive experience in creating aging in place transformations that focus on safety and convenience to the homeowner as well as any caretakers.
Senior Friendly Bathrooms
There are many things to consider when beginning a senior friendly renovation of your bathroom. Planning for what is needed now as well as what could come later is important when making these changes.
Some things to think about when reviewing options for your aging in place bathroom are:
- Location. Is the primary bathroom on the first floor? If not, creating a space for the primary bed and bath on the first floor is important for senior care. Having to climb stairs at any time of the day to use the restroom can introduce more safety hazards.
- Ample Room. If there is a senior using a walker or a wheelchair, it can be difficult to move around the bathroom for basic needs. Having enough square footage in the bathroom is important to make moving around easier. This includes enough space around the toilet, bathtub/shower, and any cabinets.
- Walk-in Bathtubs or Curbless Showers. Ways to bathe are arguably the most important feature in your aging in place bathroom. There are numerous great options out there for seniors who prefer or need a bath or require a shower (or both!) Walk-in bathtubs are easy to use, include hand railings, and provide stools for comfort and safety. Curbless showers provide a safe and beautiful shower without the hazard of a step up (or curb) for the senior to walk into. Adding a shower seat is also a good idea, providing a place to sit when needed.
- Height Modifications. Depending on the height and mobility of the senior, making small adjustments to the height of the toilet and/or sink can add to their safety and independence
- Grab Bars and Railings. Installing grab bars and railings within the bathroom provides smooth transfers from the shower to bath area, added support and confidence, as well as peace of mind. Having something to hold on to also promotes independence and comfort for those aging in place.
- Proper and Easy Lighting. As we age, our vision isn’t as good as it once was. That is why it is important that the bathroom is adequately illuminated by light. Installing canned lights over the shower and toilet areas, as well as directional lighting over the sink helps ensure proper lighting. Replacing a flip switch with a light sensor is one way to improve visibility, making it easier for the senior, especially when using the bathroom during the night.
Additional Safe and Easy Add-ons
Consider using lever faucets instead of twist for easier usage, non-slip cushioned bathmats and rugs, and adding a sprayer attachment to the shower head. These easy solutions will add additional safety measures for anyone who is aging in place.
Updating a bathroom is an important step for aging in place. Providing safety measures that benefit the senior and the caretaker provide a sense of comfort and foster independent living. Whether you are the senior initiating the renovation or a caretaker, NJW RU can work with you to make sure that you have all the amenities needed to continue to feel safe and prepared for this season of life. Contact us today to start a conversation and see all the ways we can help make your senior bathroom perfect for everyday safe use.