Many people are finding themselves in need of remodeling their home, especially their bathroom, due to their aging loved ones or to prepare to remain in their home as they age. It is becoming increasingly important to accommodate the aging population, especially because more are choosing to remain at home rather than live in an assisted community.
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous places in your home due to slippery floors, small spaces, and tub/shower falls. They can also be a challenge for wheelchairs to get in and out of.
The ultimate goal for your accessible bathroom design is to make it safe for anyone who uses it. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you are planning your accessible bathroom.
- What bathroom activities might require assistance?
- Do I need to place any extra medical supplies in the bathroom?
- Is a tub or a shower preferred?
- Where do grab bars need to be placed for assistance?
- What will the user’s needs be in the future?
5 things to consider when designing your accessible bathroom
- Shower and tub accessibility
Bathtub and shower accessibility is by far the most important consideration for your bathroom. A few things to consider for the shower and tub area are:
- Walk-in showers or tubs to avoid having to step over a barrier to access them.
- Installing a fixed or removable shower seat for users who might need to sit while they shower.
- Installing grab bars in bathing areas and near controls.
- Replacing slippery floors with nonslip floors to reduce the chance of falling.
- Placing bathing items within reach and in adequate storage to keep them from falling.
- Installing overhead lights in the shower area and replacing shower curtains with glass to add light and increase safety.
- Sink and vanity accessibility
Some sink and vanity designs can make them difficult to use for people who are in a wheelchair. Here are a few things to think about when designing your new bathroom:
- Installing a wall-mounted sink with no cabinet underneath and high enough to provide knee clearance beneath it. A good rule of thumb is 34” max rim height and 27” clearance for knees.
- Replacing two-handle faucets with a single-handle faucet that can be easily turned on and off without having to twist. You can also install hands-free faucets that have motion detection systems.
- Mounting a lower, longer, or tilted mirror to make it easily accessible for any user.
- Making sure the vanity you install can be used to grab onto when a grab bar is not within reach.
- Leaving room for proper storage of bathroom products such as dental care, prescriptions, eye care, first aid, hair dryers, curlers, cleaning supplies, and more.
- Bathroom toilet accessibility
There are some ADA guidelines that you can follow for your new bathroom toilet, such as purchasing a toilet that is 17” to 19” high, the most comfortable height for all users. A higher toilet making it easier to lower, stand, or transfer from a wheelchair/walker to the toilet. A few other suggestions for your toilet are:
- Using thicker toilet seats to make the toilet sit higher when replacing it is not an option.
- Placing your toilet paper dispenser at a comfortable height and close enough to reach.
- Installing a bidet for good hygiene for those who have difficulty using toilet paper.
- Putting at least one grab bar to the side of the toilet if you are able.
Good lighting is important for the safety of your bathroom. You should create an even light and avoid shadows as much as possible. To increase safety with light, here are the things to consider.
- Install dimmers to help create extra light that’s evenly distributed to avoid glare.
- Consider motion detection lights for those who have trouble accessing light switches.
- Replace small switches with large toggle or push button switches for easier use.
- Lower your light switch placement for wheelchair accessibility.
Remodeling your bathroom to be more accessible can be difficult – we make it easy! Schedule a free in-home estimate for your bath remodel. We can help you decide what to install and replace in order to have a bathroom that is safe an accessible for any user. Call us today!