It’s estimated that nine out of ten elderly Americans plan to live in their own homes over the next five or more years, making aging in place a popular option for senior citizens who are able to live independently. Aging in place isn’t as easy as leaving the house as-is. Some remodeling or renovation is likely necessary to ensure elderly individuals can live safely and comfortably. One area that should be of particular focus is the bathroom. Of the more than one-third of senior citizens over the age of 65 that slip and fall in their homes each year, it is estimated that nearly 80 percent of these incidents occur in the bathroom. And while there is not one magic solution for safeguarding this area of the home, there are many small and often inexpensive updates you can make to significantly enhance bathroom safety. Here’s a closer look at some age-proofing ideas:
6 Ways to Age Proof Your Bathroom
1. Tub & Shower Benches
Senior citizens are likely to have mobility issues, which makes a bench or sitting area in the tub or shower an important element for safe bathing. Old age tends to wear particularly on bones and joints which can give out during periods of unsupported standing. Benches can be installed so they are either built into the tub or free standing. Some benches can even flip up between uses.
2. Shower, Toilet Hand Rails
Slips and falls often occur when elderly individuals enter and exit the bathtub or shower, and hand rails can offer support for safe access, similar to how hand rails offer support when going up and down stairs. Hand rails may come in handy near the toilet, making use of this appliance easier as well.
3. Slip Resistant Flooring
While you can overhaul a bathroom’s flooring with slip-resistant tile, anti-slip mats can also be added throughout the bathroom for extra protection. A slick bathroom floor, shower or tub can be dangerous regardless of your age, but it can be especially hazardous for senior citizens.
4. Invest in a Handheld Shower Head
A shower or bathtub conversion is arguably the most important part of a senior citizen friendly bathroom. In addition to a bench and support rails, a handheld, removable shower head should also be considered. This feature can make bathing much easier when you are not worried about positioning your body to receive water from a conventional shower head.
5. Comfort Height Toilets
The vast majority of toilets are 16 inches or less from the seat to the floor, which can put strain on the back and knees. Comfort height toilets come up to 19 inches in height, which can make it much easier to sit down when nature calls.
6. Walk-In Tubs & Showers
Slips and falls are more likely to happen when an elderly individual has to step into a tub or shower, even if there are hand rails there to support them. Eliminating this step by installing a walk-in, or curb-less, shower or tub can make bathing much more convenient for the elderly. The trick is making sure the tile is sloped so that all of the water is able to adequately drain.
Matrix Home Solutions has helped countless homeowners update bathrooms with aging, safety and affordability in mind. Speak to a Matrix expert today to see how we can help you.