‘Aging in place’ is a term commonly used today to describe the ability to continue living in your own home as you age. But while this is a conscious choice for many homeowners, it will never become a reality without some advanced planning. That’s because in order for you to safely age in place, there’s a good chance that your home will require some modifications to enable you to do so. Here are 7 great design ideas to age-proof your bathroom.
From accessible light switches and door knobs to ramps and more, there are many factors to consider. And the more time you have to plan before you actually need these features, the better! Today, we’ll take a closer look at aging in place considerations for your bathroom – how to get a bathroom design that works with you and for you but looks beautiful as well!
Ways to Age-Proof Your Bathroom for Safety and Accessibility
When it comes to aging in place bathroom design, the primary focus is on safety and accessibility. But that doesn’t have to come at the cost of aesthetics. Any of the ways to age-proof your bathroom that are listed below can improve safety and function without sacrificing style and beauty.
1. Install a curbless shower.
Gaining access to the shower is often one of the most dangerous tasks for older people. That’s because the floor can be damp or slippery. And, having to step over a curb to get in can be challenging for maintaining balance.
Eliminate this hazard altogether with a curbless shower. This makes the shower wheelchair or walker accessible, a must for aging seniors, but can also be safer for people of any age. There will need to be a slight slope to keep the water draining inward, but this is still significantly safer and more accessible than a curbed entry.
2. Install secure grab bars inside and outside the shower.
Sturdy grab bars are essential for making the transition into and out of the shower safe and easy. One or more bars strategically placed near the entry door provide a simple way to help you maintain your balance. More bars inside the shower offer additional safety for standing or sitting.
3. Age-proof your bathroom with a built-in shower bench.
Honestly, this is one of the easiest ways to improve bathroom safety and accessibility without sacrificing style. A built-in shower bench offers the perfect opportunity for some stunning tile work while also being a functional necessity. And, the bench can be used for everyone from small children to aging adults.
In this Ladera Ranch master bathroom remodel, the built-in shower bench provides a safe seating area but also room for storing shower accessories.
Of course, there’s also the option to use a freestanding bench. Just make sure to use one that can withstand moisture and be sure that its legs are slip-resistant.
4. Include multiple shower head options in the shower.
With properly positioned grab bars in place, it’s entirely possible that someone with only slight mobility challenges could still stand to shower. But what if you want to sit on the bench to wash up? Having both a wall-mounted shower head and a hand-held shower head can make the showering experience easier for everyone.
For example, notice how this San Clemente shower includes both hand-held and wall-mounted shower heads as well as vertical and horizontal grab bars.
5. Age-proof your bathroom with slip-resistant flooring.
Even with a built-in shower bench and grab bars in all the right places, bathrooms and showers can still be slippery places. That’s because the type of flooring used to withstand everyday moisture exposure often has a smooth texture.
When you’re intending to age in place, however, flooring matters. Throw rugs or mats that might normally be used to warm cold tile floors or provide additional traction could instead become trip hazards. Rather than trying to put something on the floor to make it safer, why not simply choose the right type of flooring?
Aging in place bathroom design includes slip-resistant flooring. When you work with a professional bathroom designer, they can help you find the best choice that meets your needs but also fits with the style you’re looking to achieve. In general, the more textured the flooring is, the better it will be for helping to prevent slips and falls.
6. Pay special attention to bathroom lighting.
As mobility changes with aging, so does eyesight. But the better you can light the various areas within your bathroom, the less of an effect waning eyesight will have on everyday safety. Incorporate natural light when possible and make sure that any potentially wet spots are not hidden by shadows. Additionally, remember that many older people need to use the bathroom during the night. Make sure that walkways are sufficiently lit and that light switches are easily accessible.
7. Age-proof your bathroom with the right size tub lip.
We already covered how to make showering safer and more accessible when aging in place, but what if you still want to use a tub? No problem – just make sure the tub is also slip-resistant and that it’s easy to get into and out of.
There are two ways you can look at tub accessibility. Some homeowners prefer a thin tub surround so that it’s easier to step over when entering or exiting the tub. Others prefer a wider lip so you can actually sit on the tub and swing your legs into or out of it. The difference really comes down to personal preference. But even if a thinner surround works fine for you now, think ahead to when your mobility may be further challenged and see if it’s still right for you.
This Laguna Woods bathroom remodel we designed and built is a good example of utilizing a built-in tub with a wide surround that’s big enough to sit on.
Age-Proof Your Bathroom with the Best Orange County Bathroom Design
Being able to age-proof your bathroom is a significant part of the aging in place process. But it’s important to work with a remodeling company that has experience with utilizing universal design features in a way that promotes style and function.
At Sea Pointe Design & Remodel, we’ve been helping Orange County homeowners with their bathroom remodeling needs for almost 40 years. From elegant guest bathrooms and small powder rooms to major master bathroom makeovers and everything in between, we’ve completed bathroom remodeling in Dana Point, Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Placenta, and throughout Orange County.
To learn more about our work, feel free to browse through our online portfolio of completed projects. Or, register for one of our upcoming remodeling webinars to learn helpful tips from the remodeling pros.
Then, when you’re ready to start planning your own bathroom remodel, simply give us a call at (949) 861-3400 or fill out the form below to schedule your complimentary design consultation.