The following article “Universal design solutions make your bathroom safer for all generations” by Ike Dadabhoy, President of Your Dream Remodeling was printed in the October 23, 2022 edition of the Houston Chronicle. Read it online
Data from AARP indicates that 77 percent of adults over 50 want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. It is reported that one-third of the population over the age of 65 fall each year. Recent studies according to AARP indicate that up to 80 percent of falls in the home occur in bathrooms.
There are many universal design solutions to make your bathroom safer, not only for seniors but for all generations. Accessible bathroom safety products come in many modern finishes and styles and no longer make your bathroom “look like a hospital.”
There are bathroom safety products to make your bathroom more accessible depending on your needs, from easy updates such as the addition of grab bars to more involved solutions such as walk-in-tubs.
A walk-in tub makes bathing safer and easier. Getting in or out of a traditional shower or tub can be uncomfortable and unsafe, especially for older adults and people with disabilities. Bathroom safety is just one of the beneficial features. Some of the top walk-in tub models have customizable jets to massage your neck, legs, feet and back. The new tubs come with additional features like air bubble therapy, color chromatherapy, aromatherapy & ozone therapy. Standard features included are handrails, a textured seat and floor, anti-scald protection, quick-fill and quick-drain options and detachable spray spouts.
Walk-in tubs have lower entryways and are often deeper than traditional bathtubs, making it easier to clean your upper body. The low threshold for entry and the grab bars that allow a person to lower themselves carefully into the tub are examples of safety first.
If your bathroom currently has a tub/shower combo, consider removing the tub and remodeling your shower for improved access and safety. A curb less shower entry will allow for wheelchair access. Other modifications for safety include a shower bench, anti-scald valves, an adjustable handheld shower fixture and slip proof flooring in the shower and bathroom. Recessed shower niches at regular height and low in the walls for shampoo, conditioner, washcloth, and razors are useful for people of all ages and abilities.
As more individuals express a desire to age in place in their homes, universal design, the concept of making a home more accessible to all who live in it, has taken center stage. If you or someone you know plans to stay in a home long term, these modifications will improve bathroom safety and create an environment that is comfortable, functional and stylish.