Ageing In Place is the concept of being able to live in your own home and community regardless of age, income or ability level, in a safe, independent and comfortable manner. Taking this into account, your bathroom becomes one of the most important rooms in your house.
Remodelling your bathroom isn’t just about changing the colour of your tiles, it’s also important to think about the future. We’ve come up with a list of modifications for you to think about if you’re refitting your bathroom to enable to you stay in your own home for longer. We’re not suggesting you install grab bars if you don’t need them, but it’s always good to be adaptable for a change in circumstances. Also, you never know if an accessible bathroom could be of real value to someone looking to buy your home in the future.
Most showers have a raised step into them, and this can cause problems for those of us with mobility issues. Using a tileable wet room shower tray means there’s no step, and it gives you the option to use a wheelchair in the shower too, perfect for Ageing In Place.
Using underfloor heating mats will help water evaporate off the floor, making it less likely to cause you any slips or falls. Your toes will also thank you for the extra bit of warmth when you step out of the shower.
Don’t forget to tile your bathroom floor with non-slip tiles. Bathroom tiles can become a huge hazard to any of us when there’s moisture in the air, so we should take precautions by installing tiles with built in non-slip. If you’re using a tileable shower tray you should make sure the tiles you use are suitable for everyday use as well as thinking about Ageing In Place.
Having a small plastic chair on hand will allow you to rest your feet briefly while waiting for your conditioner to soak into your hair. A built-in, tiled shower bench wouldn’t look out of place in a modern bathroom with a walk in shower and could double up as a shelf for shower gels and hair products making them easier to reach.
A fixed shower isn’t appropriate for accessibility – it is almost always best to install a hand held shower as these allow flexibility for a bather who is standing or sitting. Hand held shower heads can be placed on a height adjustable holder on the wall.
An accessible sink doesn’t have to look like something out of a hospital. If you’re designing an Ageing In Place bathroom, avoid placing a sink in or on a cabinet, as this will prevent a wheelchair user from accessing the sink properly. By installing a wall mounted basin, a wheelchair user can be as close to the sink as necessary. When thinking about an accessible sink it is also important to consider which taps to use. An automatic, hands-free or single-handed faucet make it much easier to turn on, and reduce the strain on frail wrists.
Adjusting the height of your toilet is another Ageing In Place option, although not always necessary. This can be done by replacing your toilet, or simply using a thicker toilet seat.
Don’t forget about other simple changes you can make to have an Ageing In Place friendly bathroom. Upgrade your lighting to natural lights that illuminate the whole room, which can be enhanced by using light coloured tiles. Your light switches need to be at an accessible height, as well as electrically safe. You may also consider replacing any door, cupboard or drawer knobs with handles, this subtle change will enable those with arthritis and other joint conditions to maintain some of their independence, as handles avoid the gripping motion that frail wrists struggle with.
Some of these changes are simpler than others, but they will all help you to remain comfortable in your own home.0
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