There is nothing more important than creating a bathroom where your elderly can be safe and use it easily. It will allow them to still have their dignity. That is why creating a bathroom that they can use on their own is the key to keep them happy. Make sure that you make accommodations for walkers, medical equipment, wheelchairs, unsteady balance, and other things that might happen in the long run. It is a great way to ensure that they are both independent and safe. So take a look at the tips below to create a bathroom for the elderly.
Falls are something that is often the cause of visiting emergency rooms, and the conditions in the bathroom are the perfect promotion for an accident. Everything from the motion of stepping into a bathtub and showers like bending over the sink, and getting up and down are all motions that aren’t the best and safest for the elderly. And once you add wetness to the equation, it becomes even more dangerous.
9 Design tips for safe and accessible bathrooms for seniors:
1. Safe bathroom access
One of the first considers that should take into account when designing a bathroom is safe to access. Make sure that there is a clear path with no barriers or objects that are loose. That will prevent any tripping and disturbing traffic if they are in a wheelchair. Another important thing is to ensure that there is enough light at night on the way and in the bathroom. In this case, they can make their way to the bathroom easily and safely.
2. Pay attention to doors
Another thing that you need to pay attention to is that the doors are easily opened and are at least 80 cm wide so both walkers and wheelchairs can go through. Make sure that the knobs are simple and don’t require a lot of energy to open. A very crucial thing that might not seem like a big deal is removing the locks from the bathrooms. That is very important because if they are locked in the bathroom and if an accident occurs, there is no convenient way to get to them.
3. Install safe flooring for bathroom
Because bathroom floors are known to be slippery, you need to ensure that they don’t get the chance to slip. Logically, to prevent the elderly from skidding, you need to install a non-slip floor. There are so many different materials that are non-slip such as ceramic, epoxy, rubberized floorings, and many other things. Never have rugs in the bathroom because they are an important cause of accidents. If you must have one, then you should pick ones that are suctioned to the food and provide friction so you can never slip.
4. Accessible toilets in the bathroom
High toilets are not appropriate for the elderly because they don’t have enough muscle tone to sit and stand up. They should be around 46 cm tall and tightly attached to the floor. Also, elderly bathrooms should have bidets, as they are more sanitary, and it makes the whole process easier.
5. Install grab bars
Another vital thing that every bathroom needs to have are grab bars. They are there to assist at most critical times. These grab bars should be placed next to the toilet, the shower entrance, and in the shower. Never install towel bars and things like that as grab bars, as they aren’t made to support the weight. They need to be tightly secured to the wall and about 1.30 meters high.
6. Easy to use faucets
Instead of having the normal faucets, to make it easier for your elderly to operate, install faucets that have sensors. That way, they won’t need to twist knobs to wash their hands. It is one of the best ways to upgrade a bathroom and make it safer.
7. Have walk-in tub in the bathroom
A walk in the tub will allow them to take a bath safely. They will be able to easily step into the tub, fill it, and then drain it before stepping out of it. There won’t be any climbing over the edge to get into the tub. You can even install controls near the end so they won’t have to move around or reach far to turn on everything.
8. Provide them with a heat
When you are designing a bathroom for the elderly to be safe, there are not too many safe things you can add. Another great addition to their safe bathroom is a seat. Choose ones that also have a neck pillow so they can rest for their neck and feet if they get too tired and weak. It is much safer to provide them with a place where they can rest than thinking that they can do it on their own.
9. Elderly bathroom alert system
Even if you have designed the perfect and the world’s safest bathroom for aged people, it is still possible that there is an accident. That is why you need to install some kind of an alert system where they can signal you from if something does happen. Things like corbels or alarms are great ways to ensure they can call you if they need help. You must make sure that the device you installed is very accessible and near the floor so they can reach it when they are down.
When you are designing a bathroom that is safe and easy to use, you must think about your country’s standards. Different countries will have different standards and dimensions. Another thing that everyone should keep in mind is that safe and comfortable don’t have to be unpleasant to be in and not appealing. A safe bathroom can be luxurious and still beautiful if it’s designed well enough. Maintaining their independence and comfort are two very important things to keep in mind.
Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer. Her ultimate passion is designing. She is a bibliophile and her favorite book is “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner.