Remodeling a Bathroom for Aging in Place

As you move into retirement, you may find it's time to remodel your home to help you stay through retirement. Other words used to describe these design choices include "aging in place" and "universal design."

Aging in place modifications allow you to live in your home longer by taking into account the possible decreased strength, dexterity, or mobility that can occur over time. These renovations don't just increase the accessibility of your home; universal design and aging-in-place features are increasingly in demand and can enhance the resale value of your home.

Because of the risks of slipping, bath remodeling is the most common renovation undertaken when aging in place is a consideration. Slippery bathroom surfaces are a big concern for everyone, so addressing this can help keep you safe as well as helping prevent grandchildren from falling. Many companies now make grab bars and fixtures that are accessible without looking too utilitarian.
Here are some common modifications:

Room as a Whole Aging in Place Design Options:
• Place bathroom on the same floor as main bedroom
• Install grab bars around tub and toilet
• Add slip-resistant flooring
• Ensure sufficient lighting
• Raise vanity/counter height
• Use lever instead of knob door handles
• Enlarge doorways
• Add extra floor space for maneuvering wheelchairs

Sink Aging in Place Design Options:
• Install faucets with lever handles
• Consider motion-activated faucets
• Hang sinks on walls, leaving more room for wheelchairs
• Use temperature-controlled faucets

Toilet Aging in Place Design Options:
• Swap out your toilet for an extra-tall model or one with an adjustable seat
• Install grab bars nearby
• Consider double rows of grab bars
• Add a toilet paper holder that can be changed with one hand
• Add a safety feature such as a telephone/intercom nearby

Bathtub/Shower Aging in Place Design Options:
• Look into a walk-in bathtub
• Replace your tub with a walk-in or roll-in shower
• Add a fold-down seat in the shower
• Use anti-scalding faucet controls
• Ensure adequate lighting
• Add an adjustable shower head (handheld or attached to a bar to allow sliding up and down)
• Install grab bars

Joaquin Erazo, Jr. is with Case Handyman and Remodeling. Find a local bathroom remodeling company near you!

Learn more about bath renovations on our website.

(c) 2010 Joaquin Erazo, Jr.

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