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What are “Aging in Place” Options for Your Bathroom?

May 11th, 2012 Posted in Universal Design

As the general population in the Unites States is aging, design trends and products that accommodate people wanting to stay in their homes as long as possible are becoming more popular. Even if you’re a younger person, elderly family members may come to visit and a range of modifications that you can make to your home can make them more comfortable.

Frequently, the most difficulties that people with physical limitation experience is getting in and out of showers and bath tubs. Using toilets can also present a challenge. Here are just some options that can improve the functionality of your bathroom.

A lot of showers have a 4” x 4” threshold at the entry to keep water from splashing out. Barrier-free showers or roll-in showers do not have a curb and therefore makes the shower accessible even in a wheel chair, provided it is wide enough. The floors need to be installed in such a way that the water drains quickly. Inside the shower, grab bars should be installed, as well as a shower seat to ease daily showering. Water controls that are easily controlled, and recessed soap and shampoo niches should be within the reach of the seat. Hand held showers can also be helpful when seated. The shower floor should be made with no-slip material in any situation to prevent injuries.

In order to install grab bars, the wall framing needs “blocking” to support the extra weight. When you remodel your bathroom, we advise to have the blocking installed even though you do not plan to have grab bars installed right away. It would be more expensive later on to have the blocking added because the tile or other material would have to be removed and replaced.

A curb-less shower by Aquatic Industries

Walk-in bathtubs with a waterproof door are also an option. Keep in mind that you will have to wait in the tub for the water to fill and drain, which could make you uncomfortably cold while waiting. Therefore water pressure and volume need be adequate for filling the tub. In addition, drains that drain the water more quickly should be specified. Built-in seats and grab bars are available with most walk-in tubs.

                                                   Walk- in tub (www.gardenhottub.org)

Stay tuned, next time we will discuss faucets and toilets.

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