Aging in Place or Planning for Special Needs Bathroom Remodels

It's important to plan for your future comfort and safety. If you intend to remain in your current home when you retire, it may be wise to consider making the changes you'll need to make to your bathroom while you're still working, rather than waiting until you retire.

In order to have an effective plan, the possibility of limited mobility or sight should be taken into account. As family members age they may need the use of a wheelchair or walker. In fact, the latest studies report that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has a disability, the most common being mobility limitation.

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Of course, everyone is at risk of having a disability at some point during their lives, if only temporarily. Additionally, having a home which incorporates specifications for these considerations can result in higher resale values.

Aging in Place Tip #1

Unless you are planning on installing an elevator or chairlift, ensure you have a full bathroom located on the main level of your home. All flooring should be non-slip or anti-skid, including within the shower or tub. It is also recommended that all rugs be removed to prevent tripping or falling. Additionally, doors should always open out, or pocket doors can be utilized if space is limited, with levered openers rather than doorknobs.

Aging in Place Tip #2

In order to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, consider utilizing a roll-in shower with no lip, leaving clear areas to maneuver around fixtures such as the sink or toilet. Walk-in tubs are also available for those who desire it.

Aging in Place Tip #3

An adjustable showerhead height with a hand-held option in addition to a shower seat can make bathing much easier and safer. Lever handle faucets and a shelf within easy reach for toiletries and towels can help also.

Aging in Place Tip #4

Make certain your bathroom is well-lit by adding a light in the shower. Textured, easy-grip grab bars can help you to sit and stand with safety in the bathroom, or to get in and out of a shower or tub. They can be installed anywhere for added ease, but will need proper bracing to give safe support. Appropriate planning will also leave room for a caregiver who may be assisting.

Aging in Place Tip #5

A wheelchair accessible sink and countertop is a major consideration.  A person with a disability may use a sink to support themselves and therefore it must be stable and smooth to prevent injuries. Putting a contrasting edge on your countertops can help someone with vision or balance challenges.

Mounting the sink on a wall is best in order to allow clear floor space so a wheelchair can roll past it and under the sinks, the pipes must be insulated. Mounting heights and widths are specified which allow for knee clearance and also depth for toe space. Additionally, it is suggested that the faucet handles should be push, lever or electronically controlled and easily used with one hand.

Mirrors should be hung at recommended heights or a full length one installed. Your toilet’s height is also important. This should be chosen by the height and abilities of the people who will be using it, and can be changed with the purchase of a seat extender. The toilet paper holder should be easily reached from a sitting position, and ideally allow for one-handed changing. Storage including a medicine cabinet should ideally be within reach while seated.

DECOLAV offers an abundance of options for a safe and comfortable bathroom that can allow you to age in place, and is sure to satisfy even the most discriminating taste. As the experts in both residential and commercial bathroom furniture and fixtures, DECOLAV® can help you make your bathroom more accessible with our ADA compliant products and expertise. If you would like more information on how DECOLAV can help you plan your retirement bathroom, please visit today.