With nearly 11 million people now aged 65 or over ensuring that our homes are suitable for old age is becoming increasingly important. Being able to continue to live comfortably and safely in their own home for as long as possible is a critical concern to many elderly people. One of the most essential elements in being able to do this is making sure that your bathroom is both safe and adapted for your changing needs.
Room H2O have put together a few practical ways in which you can make your bathroom a safer and easier place to manage as you, or a family member, ages.
Bathroom lighting is important
Good lighting in any bathroom is essential. Dim or insufficient illumination makes accidents far more likely – hiding both trip and slip hazards. Make sure the lighting is bright and even, particularly around the toilet, hand basin and shower/bath areas.
Consider replacing your bath with an easy access shower
Traditional baths have high sides which can be tricky for people with limited mobility or balance issues. Replacing this with a semi-frameless or frameless glass shower enclosure makes access easier and provides adequate room for both you and a carer to assist, if required. Even a small change, such as installing a slim shower tray, will help.
Showers can also easily be fitted with seats, making things more comfortable if you have difficulty standing for any length of time. Elegant designs for these and foot rests mean a practical but stylish bathroom can be maintained.
For those who have severe access issues you may want to consider the installation of a complete wet room – this creates a level tiled floor throughout the bathroom with no ledges or trip hazards. This is most suitable for individuals who need wheelchair access.
In terms of the shower itself it’s best to have a shower head fitted on a riser, rather than in a fixed position. The ability to adjust or even remove the shower head, means that it can used when standing, seated or for hand washing.
For those who would still like the occasional use of a bath consider fitting one of the modern ‘shower bath’ options, with a built in door for easy access and a discreet shower screen.
Slip resistant bathroom floor coverings
The most obvious and important aspect of any bathroom is the floor. Remember: there is no such thing as anti-slip flooring for bathrooms. Whether you chose vinyl, tiles or natural stone make sure that you choose one which has a high degree of slip resistance – wet or dry. Texture finishes are best. Do not use any rugs or mats which do not have a slip resistant backing.
Underfloor heating is an excellent way to keep damp bathroom floors dry but is not always suitable for use with vinyl floor coverings.
Fitting an extractor fan is also a good idea to reduce the level of ambient moisture in the bathroom during and after use. Less condensation, especially on the floor, means less chance of a slip hazard.
Stylish hand rails and convenient adapted toilets
For many older people moving from standing to sitting, or vice versa, can be difficult. This is especially the case with modern toilets which can be quite low to the ground. Consider replacing with a modern raised toilet, available in a range of stylish designs and colours, in heights from 390 mm to 460 mm.
Hand rails positioned at strategic points in the shower or around the toilet are vital. Modern designs with stylish finishes, such as chrome or stainless steel, which match taps and towel rails avoid the functional, ‘hospital’ look.
For more information, ideas or to view our selection of safe luxury bathroom displays simply contact us or visit the Room H2O Bathroom and tile showroom in Wareham, Dorset.