Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Building an elderly-friendly bathroom

As we go through life’s various stages, from kid to adult and then to being a senior, our home should be able to accommodate our changing needs. If you or your parents are nearing the age of seniority, it is probably time to change things up in your home to provide you with the safety and comfort you need. 

Install a mounted water closet higher, so it is easier for a senior to get up from the seat. Install grab bars near the water closet for extra support.

Most accidents at home take place in the bathroom, and more so for the elderly. Slippery floors and shower areas are the main culprits for these accidents. To prevent this, use non-slip flooring or apply a slip-proof coating over your existing tiles. Avoid fluffy bath mats as these can cause tripping, and install grab bars and handles for support. 

If you are in the process of renovating an old bathroom or designing a new one from scratch, here are some tips to make your bathroom safe and convenient for the elderly: 

  1. Have enough clearance for wheelchair access.
     
  2. Locate light switches low enough for them to be accessed while seated on a wheelchair.
     
  3. Have at least one electrical outlet that can be reached easily. Even seniors might need this for blow-drying or shaving.
  4.  
  5. Install a mounted water closet higher, so it is easier for a senior to get up from the seat. Install  grab bars near the water closet for extra support.
     
  6. Go for a wall-mounted lavatory and a cantilevered vanity area, and make sure a wheelchair-bound person can wheel himself in and use these areas effectively. Consider using automatic faucets for ease of use.
     
  7. Include a built-in seat in the shower area, and install grab bars as well. Steer clear of tubs, as climbing into them will only cause accidents. - Aislinn Kee 

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