There are soakers and there are showerers. The shower reins supreme in my household. The problem with this, is that if you decide to stay in our house, you’ll eventually need to make some necessary renovations, so that you can age in place. Fortunately, the kitchen & bath industry has come a long way in universal design. Many manufacturers of bathroom products have recognized the necessity to keep up with the fact that people are living longer and wanting to stay in their homes.
The bathroom is one of the primary rooms in the house that will require alterations. Thanks to our friends at NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), there is a checklist of things to consider for a bathroom renovation.
1) Doorways widened to 36” to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers;
2) Wheelchair maneuverable space, such as a 60” turning radius, or appropriate t-turn space;
3) Adjustable, multiple shower head units, which include a hand-held shower head, a 6ft hose and off-set controls to allow for a comfortable shower either sitting or standing;
4) Braced walls around the shower, tub and toilet to ensure benches and grab bars can hold up to 250 pounds,
5) Curbless showers with a minimum 36” door width, eliminating the need to step up to get in and out of the shower;
6) Grab bars in shower, tub and toilet areas; (Your home is not a hospital and it does not have to look like one. Many reputable manufacturers make decorative grab bars that blend well into a well-designed bathroom.)
7) Lever handles on doors and plumbing fixtures to accommodate decreased hand strength;
8) “Comfort height” toilets, which are 2.5” taller than standard toilets, for easy access for the less mobile;
9) Wall-hung sinks with protection from the pipes to accommodate wheelchairs;
10) Non-slip flooring in the bathroom and the shower;
11) Rocker light switches for easy on/off capabilities;
12) Toilet paper dispensers that can be refilled with one hand – no more fighting the springs.
Safety is paramount element to any renovation and for a shower unit, having a low lip that keeps water from running onto your floor is essential. This low lip means that it’s easier to get in and out of the shower. Another main factor is that you don’t need to give up design for functionality. Let’s take a look at some examples of well appointed shower areas that provide age in place functionality.
All of our showrooms have examples of products and accessories for those seeking to learn more about aging in place design and renovations. Our experienced showroom associates have worked with interior designers, builders and architects, who are creating functional age in place bathroom environments for their clients. Stop by and click your heels and say, “There is no place like home.”
All of these images except the last two come courtesy of Age In Place website.