Accessibility is a very important topic when it comes to home remodeling, especially when you live with elderly and people with otherwise reduced mobility. Many areas of the house that offer no immediate dangers to you can be considered perilous for some in a more vulnerable state.
The bathroom is one of the spaces that people use the most and cannot live without, and it’s also where a lot of accidents can happen – which makes this the area you should focus on first of all.
Decreasing the risk of slipping, and ensuring good lighting as well as maximum comfort are vital when creating an age-proof bathroom. Keep reading to find out great ways to minimize risks and make sure your bathroom is safe and easy to use!
1. Think Twice About Glass
Glass walls and doors obviously give a feeling of more space in the bathroom, but shower glass requires continuous maintenance. Not only does it require constant cleaning to avoid marks, but it also has the potential to break easily, which can lead to serious accidents.
To avoid this maintenance when you get older, you can think of the other types of Heavy-duty shower glass that reduce maintenance and are much harder to break. Your bathroom remodel cost will be a little higher upfront but will require far less maintenance over time.
2. Buy a Comfort-Height Toilet
The vast majority of bathroom toilets are under 16 inches tall, which is quite low to the ground. This isn’t a big problem most of the time, but as your mobility gets compromised, even attempting to sit down can lead to accidents.
Comfortable height toilets are from 17 to 19 inches tall, which makes sitting and standing easier without straining your back. You can find the right size toilet and get it installed with the help of bathroom contractors.
3. Include a shower bench
A place to sit in the shower is necessary for an age-proof bathroom. Install or purchase a bench large enough to sit and shower comfortably. The bank can be built-in or not. If space is limited, try a bench that can fold away when not in use. This is a great idea for a small bathroom remodel, so long as it’s safe and sturdy.
4. Add grab bars
Sturdy grab bars are super important. You need something to grab a hold of as you get in and out of the shower or use the toilet.
Place it on the outside of the shower and on the inside so you can safely walk around the space. Combine that with slip-proof material to add even more safety to your bathroom.
5. Pay Attention to the Lip Around Your Tub
Pay attention to the width of the lip in a bathtub: if you have to step over a wide bathtub, the space between your legs has to be greater, which can increase the chances of falling. A thinner edge is better to reduce these chances, but it should be combined with other precautions for extra safety.
6. Porcelain Wall and Floor Tile
Porcelain floors can last a lifetime, so chances are you won't need to tidy up as you age. Bonus points for being one of the easiest surfaces to clean, and easily accessible pretty much anywhere.
Ps: If you're worried about the grout, look for porcelain tile with a ground edge, or with pre-sealed grout. At the same time, you can always hire a tile work expert to clean and reseal your grout.
7. Adjust the height of your vanity
The standard vanity height is 31 ½ inches (not including your countertop). That's not high enough for some people. Raising the cabinet height to 34 ½ inches (reaching the standard kitchen counter, including a countertop) makes it so you don’t have to bend over so much while washing your face.
If you're comfortable with the standard vanity height, or if you want to make your wheelchair accessible, choose a counter height no higher than 34 inches.
8. Make sure it's well lit
The better the lighting, the less pressure on your eyes. This comes in many forms such as recessed lighting, vanity lighting, lamps, and natural light. Should natural light not be available from windows, be sure to install proper lighting.
You can also place lighting inside the shower, which is unusual in most bathrooms, but definitely welcome as you get older.
9. Look for textured floors
Regardless of the type of flooring you decide to put in your bathroom, choose one that has high slip resistance, – the more textured a floor is, the greater its slip resistance. You can also install rubber strips in strategic places (such as near the shower) for extra safety.
The slip resistance of a flooring material can usually be found on the manufacturer's website. but you also benefit from visiting a local hardware store and checking them out for yourself.
Now with these 9 age-proof bathroom remodeling tips, you can plan your home to be more accessible to elderly family members and for yourself as you grow older!
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