May 27, 2021
In this episode of the Your Forever Home podcast Frances covers off the topic of creating a bathroom that is accessible for when you get older, or are less able-bodied. She outlines design elements that can be incorporated now that will make a big difference later on, and some that can simply be provisioned for and installed later. Through her passion for creating ‘Future Proof’ homes, this is another area that adds to the liveability of your home well into the future.
Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are the most used space in our home and one of the most difficult and dangerous places for elderly home owners. They are an essential part of your daily routine, yet they hold so many challenges and pose so many risks. Fortunately, there are a range of practical bathroom alterations that will make it safer and easier to use.
Walk in shower-step free
A walk in shower, without any hurdles upon entry makes a lot of sense. One option is having a curb-less shower entry. It looks great and is also a lot more accessible as they prevent bathroom accidents – such as tripping over the curb while getting in and out of the shower.
Add a built-in shower seat
Standing in the shower for long periods of time can be difficult for some people, so a built-in shower seat can help give more stability.. However, if it's not within your budget or you don't like how it looks, you might want to consider having a waterproof stool that can be moved in and out when needed.
Place grab bars in the shower and near the toilet
Grab bars are another excellent feature as they provide good stability and support. You don't necessarily have to install them right away. This is something that you can provision for by pre-determining the length and position of the bars in your bathroom.
Install an adjustable shower on a rail with a handheld showerhead
This enables you to move the shower head up and down the rail, giving you more options to suit your needs. It is ideal in a family household as it serves many different purposes.
Select mixer/lever taps for basin and shower for easier operation
Knobs can be difficult to turn when you have arthritis, so having a mixer tap with a lever is easier to use when turning the shower on and adjusting the temperature
Cavity sliding doors for ease of opening and closing
It enables you to have more space in the actual room and it’s essential for increased accessibility – particularly if you are in a wheelchair or have a walker. Not only are you creating a bigger thoroughfare for entry, it is also easier to maneuver around in within the space.
Mount the basin close to the edge of the vanity for easier use
Select easy-glide or soft close drawers for the vanity
Make sure that your hardware is qood quality so the drawers glide easily
Select higher than standard toilets (becoming more and more common)
Higher toilets are now becoming more popular as they allow you to get up and down with ease. I anticipate that this will soon become the new standard.
Place toilet min 45cm from any walls, shower screen or bath.
30 or 40 cm is the norm but 45cm is better so that you've got that extra space for maneuvering and accessibility.
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