There are many, many different ways that you can work on making a house more accessible for people who may not have the easiest time getting around and doing things that they used to be able to do. For example, the elderly may not have an easy time climbing over the side of a bathtub to get into the shower.
When you are renovating a bathroom to fit the needs of your family members, you will have to take things like this into account. Here are some different ways that you can make sure that your bathroom has plenty of access for senior members of the family.
1. Consider the Overall Accessibility of the Bathroom
One thing that you will need to consider is whether or not your bathroom has enough space to include mobility aid devices. Some senior members of the family may not be able to move around without them very well, which means that you will need to include them when you are considering the size of the bathroom.
For example, you will need to look up the standard measurements for a wheelchair and make sure that the walls of the bathroom accommodate this, as well as making sure there is enough of a turning radius for people who are in a wheelchair. For the doors, you should consider adding levers or sliding doors, as these can look better and be easier for people with mobility aid devices to use. Finally, you will need to make sure that the sink is at a reachable height for people in wheelchairs. Mirrors in the bathroom should be angled downward if the senior member of the household needs a wheelchair to get around.
2. Adapting the Shower
Just as you will need to make enough space for mobility aid devices in the main part of the bathroom, you will also need to make the showers just as accessible. You will often need to have separate tubs and showers when accommodating the elderly. For a shower, you should consider making sure that the shower doesn’t have any kerbs so that a wheelchair or other mobility device can easily get inside. Doors are optional, depending on how much privacy is needed. If the elderly person has trouble standing for long periods of time, you can consider adding seating into the shower to make things easier.
3. Adapting the Shower Heads
Not only will you need to make sure that the shower room is accessible to people who are older, you should also pay special attention to the shower head. Since many elderly people have trouble standing for long periods of time, a fixed shower head is often not optimal. Instead, you should consider adding a hand-held shower head at a wheelchair-accessible height. Depending on the needs of your family, you may also need to consider anti-scalding valves for the shower head. Some shower heads also have a temperature limit you can make use of.
4. Adapting the Tub
Now that you have the shower figured out, you should make sure that you have a tub for elderly members of the family to relax in. Walk-in tubs are often the best, as there is no need to step over the edge of the tub. These tubs can be installed in the corner of the bathroom or alongside a wall. The tub controls can also be installed as close to the seat as possible to make everything more accessible for the senior member of your family.
5. Adapting the Walls
Even if you have plenty of places for an elderly person to sit around the shower and in the tub, you are still going to need to make sure that there are places people can grab onto for support. One of the unfortunate problems with aging is that one’s sense of balance is not what it used to be. This means that, especially in a wet shower (even if there is non-stick flooring), someone could stumble and fall. By installing grab bars around the bathroom, people who do not have the steadiest feet can walk around with more confidence. The best places for these bars include near the tub, on both sides of the wall if possible, on all three walls in the shower, and one near the toilet.
6. Adapting the Toilet
Speaking of toilets, you will need to make sure that you install one that will be easier for elderly people to use. There are a couple ways you can do this. For one, you can make sure that the toilet has a bidet and that any controls for the toilet are easy to reach. You can also make sure that the toilet is at an optimal height for people with mobility issues. In addition, adding those grab bars can provide the confidence that some people need.
7. Adapting the Storage
You will also need to make sure that all the storage cabinets and areas are easily accessible. Typically, drawers that you can pull out are going to be easier to use than anything else. You should also add areas where towels and washcloths can be grabbed easily and without much effort. To finish it off, you should add a space where everyday toiletries can also be accessed without any worries.
8. Adapting the Floor
Last, but not least, when doing bathroom renovations in Adelaide, you will need to make sure that you have made the floor of the bathroom something that seniors will not need to worry about. This includes making sure that you are using non-slip materials across the entire floor. For elderly members of the family who have poor vision or depth perception, you can also add visual markers.
Renovating a bathroom for someone who is aging can be very different from one based on aesthetics. To ensure that you create a bathroom that is senior-friendly, keep these handy renovation tips in mind.