As we consider home remodeling projects as we grow older, we should give some serious attention to age-proofing a bathroom.
Let’s face it: the population of home-owners is growing older and many of us are opting to age-in-place, in our homes where we are comfortable. But as we grow older we also need to think about keeping our homes safe and convenient.
Perhaps nowhere in the home is this idea more important than in our bathrooms.
Above all, “reducing slip hazards and ensuring adequate lighting and maximum comfort are vital when creating an age-proof bathing space,” Ferris notes.
Some other ideas and suggestions of Ferris include:
- Install a shower bench. A safe place to sit in the shower is vital for an age-proof bathroom design.
- Install a handheld shower head. These clever shower heads are easily adjustable for height and, when placed adjacent to your shower bench, enable you to wash up while seated.
- Install double-duty grab bars. These provide something for you to hold on to as you’re entering and exiting your shower.
- Increase the height of your vanity. Raising the cabinet height to 34½ inches (this will reach standard kitchen counter height, including a 1½ inch countertop) can prevent you from having to hunch over as you’re washing up.
- Buy a comfort-height toilet. Most toilets are less than 16 inches high. Comfort-height toilets are 17 to 19 inches high, which makes sitting and standing much easier.
- Think twice about glass. Few things can open up a bathroom space like glass walls and doors, but if you’re looking for an effective way to age in place, they won’t always fit the bill.
- Ensure that the space is well-lit. The better your bathroom lighting is, the less strain on your eyes.
- Choose porcelain wall and floor tile. Porcelain can last a lifetime, so chances are you won’t have to replace it as you get older.
- Look for textured flooring. No matter which kind of flooring you decide to put in your bathroom, choose one that has high slip resistance.
- Have a flat shower entry. This minimizes your risk of tripping over a step as you enter your shower. It’s also a wheelchair-accessible feature.
- Make the lip around your tub’s entrance narrow. If you’re planning for a tiled tub surround, make the lip at your tub’s entrance as narrow as possible.
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