As our loved ones age, it becomes increasingly important to create an environment that promotes safety, accessibility, and comfort. One of the areas of the home that requires careful consideration is the bathroom. Designing an elderly-friendly bathroom involves making thoughtful choices that prioritize the well-being of our elderly family members. Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating a bathroom for them.
One key point in any senior-citizen friendly bathroom is safety. Some ways of ensuring safety are
a. Non-Slip Flooring: Choose a non-slip flooring material like textured tiles. There are several types of anti-skid and slip resistant tiles available in the market. Opting for a smaller size will help in achieving a better floor slope and subsequently less retention of water on the floor. When using marble or granite select a texture finish like lapato or leather to reduce the risk of slips and falls, especially when the floor is wet.
b. Grab Bars: Install sturdy grab bars near the toilet, shower and entrance to provide support and stability while standing up or moving around. Grab bars are available in different lengths and can be mounted in various angles to suit the support required. There are grab bars that can be folded back after use – these are very helpful in compact bathrooms to save space.
c. Proper Lighting: Having ample and well-distributed lighting helps to minimize shadows and improve visibility. Atleast two lights, one in the dry area and one in the shower area of appropriate wattage will ensure a well-lit bathroom. Motion-activated lights can be especially helpful during night time visits.
Walk-In Showers: In a bathroom design for elderly, separating the wet and dry area is very crucial. Although a bath tub may keep it contained, it is not very easy to use for an older person. Replacing it with walk-in showers that have low thresholds or even curbless entry to eliminate tripping hazards. Installing a glass partition keeps the wet area separate.
Lever Handles: A lever-style faucet handles for sinks and showers is easier to operate than knobs. With single lever divertors available in the market, the need to turn multiple knobs are minimised and hence the ease of access improves.
Raised Toilet Seats: Slightly raising the toilet seat to facilitate sitting down and getting up from the toilet with assist in usability.
3. Functional Layout:
Clear arrangement of the layout: Wash basin and the WC are generally considered the dry areas inside a bathroom and must be kept away from the bathing zone. Ensure there is enough space for a walker or wheel chair to manoeuvre comfortably.
Adequate Clearance: Keeping sufficient clearance space between all fixtures and providing a proper support between the fixtures facilitate ease of movement.
Accessories: The placement of storage should be thoughtfully arranged to minimize bending, stretching, or reaching. Opt for wall-mounted storage solutions like shelves and cabinets to keep toiletries within reach and without cluttering the floor space.
4. Comfort and Support:
Seating: Adding a fold-down shower seat or a built-in bench inside the shower area ensures a comfortable and secure place to sit while showering.
Handheld Showerheads: Installing adjustable handheld showerheads fixed within reach while seated helps the user to control the water direction and flow.
Slip-Resistant Mats: Placing slip-resistant mats near the shower entry enhances comfort and prevent falls.
Designing bathrooms for the elderly is a thoughtful process that involves creating an environment that prioritizes safety, accessibility, and comfort. By tailoring bathroom design to the needs of senior citizens, we not only enhance their daily routines but also empower them to maintain their dignity, autonomy, and overall well-being. Remember that each individual’s needs may vary, so it’s important to consult with them and professionals experienced in elderly-friendly design to ensure the bathroom meets their specific requirements. If you are looking to design an elderly friendly bathroom, reach out to Happy klo and we promise to design and deliver safe and accessible bathrooms for your loved ones.