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7 Options For Senior Friendly Bathrooms

For older adults, using the bathroom effectively and safely– whether it is the toilet, faucets, or the shower and bathtub – can be difficult. For people who have lost mobility and strength, standing in a shower for a long time isn't possible, and getting in and out of a bathtub is a risky proposition.

senior friendly bathroom

Thankfully there has been progress in senior friendly bathrooms geared towards helping seniors navigate the bathroom with ease. The remodeling covers a wide range, from something as simple as a sprayer attachment that allows for the person to sit while bathing, to curbless showers that remove the need to step up for access. These changes can help the elderly be more independent in the bathroom, and they also help the elderly caregiver give better care to their loved one.

Options For Senior Friendly Bathrooms

1. Install lever faucets. Having a lever faucet gets rid of the twisting and turning that can be difficult for the elderly. There are hundreds of different styles to choose from, including foot operated faucets. Installing a new faucet isn't as difficult as it once was, but anytime you're dealing with plumbing, it is good to at least talk with a professional before making the change yourself.

2. Get a sprayer attachment for your shower-head. A shower-head that you can detach and hold in your hand makes bathing really easy. It furthermore eliminates the need to stand while showering, certainly a bonus for those who have problems standing for long periods. Being able to sit and shower also means more independence for the elderly.

3. Install grab bars and rails. This is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to make your bathroom more elderly-friendly. Installing grab bars and rails in the shower, bathtub and near the toilet makes bathing and using the toilet easier not only for the elderly person, but for the caregiver as well. The grab bars and rails can be installed yourself or you can hire someone to do the work.

senior friendly bathrooms

4. Raise the height of the toilet. Simply raising the toilet's height as little as three inches can make all the difference for seniors. There are a lot of options for raising the height of the toilet. You can simply raise the height of your existing toilet with a thick toilet seat, or you can replace your old toilet with a “Comfort Height” toilet. Once again, this can be a DIY project, or a project where you call a plumber.

5. Thick rugs for cushioning. This simple and easy addition to the bathroom is for the elderly caregivers that are spending time on their knees bathing someone. Placing a well-padded rug or pillow under your knees can keep your knees from hurting, making the bathing process less of a chore.

6. Non-slip bath mats and rugs. This is another easy way to prevent falls in the bathroom. Placing a non-slip mat in the shower prevents the senior from falling while showering and a non-slip rug on the floor outside the shower prevents any slipping once the senior is out of the shower. Non-slip tape is a lower cost option for shower pans and tub bottoms.

7. Curbless showers and Walk-in bathtubs. For the seniors that can't lift their legs, putting in a curbless shower can be a lifesaver. A curbless shower can make the transition from wheelchair to shower seat simple and easy for the senior and the caregiver. Walk-in bath tubs are another popular option, as they are much easier to access than traditional tubs and most have a built in seat as well. There are many different options for installing a curbless shower or a walk-in bathtub. You can buy and have installed a pre-fabricated unit, or you can do it yourself. The advantage to having a new unit installed is that they are specifically designed for senior care.

RELATED: IS A WALK-IN BATHTUB RIGHT FOR ME?

There are twin goals to redoing your bathroom: the first is to increase the independence of your loved one, and the second is to make life easier for you the caregiver.

What changes to your bathroom have you made? What is the most cost-effective way to change your bathroom to suit the elderly?

18 Comments

  1. Thank you for a variety of excellent tips. We are in a small town, and NO ONE (plumbers, construction firms) seem to want to take on these types of improvements, yet I am sure, we have numerous seniors who would LOVE to improve their bathrooms. We don’t know the “language” of what to ask for, etc. , and we don’t want an entire bathroom renovation.

  2. Hi
    Great article with lot’s of information. I think these are all really helpful ideas that you are gave in your article. From this article i learn when buying a handheld shower head, make sure it is has an extra long tangle free hose and that the switch to turn it on and off is on the actual handle. People can learn from here and apply it their own home. I also going to to be apply it on my home. Thanks for the information.

  3. As this is perfect thank you! I never really thought about ageing and how that might need to change bathroom layouts before – but it’s funny what can change with age. This is fantastic though – it gives me a good basis for the new bathroom design, so thank you ever so much to the writer of this piece. Though I would like to ask a quick question about walk in baths/showers etc – if anyone would be able to help me out at all? Essentially as my husband has gotten older, his legs have been causing him more and more problems. And one of the things he’s becoming most worried about is the bathroom and his own independence. He doesn’t want to have to rely on others too much, and still wants to be able to bathe himself and such, so we were thinking a walk in bath could be an ideal solution in this case. Does anyone know of any good companies we can get one from? I believe my husband’s friend mentioned a company called Gainsborough. Does anyone know if they are good? Or does anyone have any recommendations at all for other vendors? Or indeed any other alternatives? We’re completely open at this point! Any tips would be much appreciated as we’re very much at sea here!

  4. Excellent tips. I believe walk in shower or tub is the most important thing when i t comes to a handicap bathroom. And of course, handrails.

  5. Thanks for the really helpful information. We are going through some of these types of choices now with my 89 year old grandmother. One thing I learned that may help your readers. When buying a handheld shower head, make sure it is has an extra long tangle free hose and that the switch to turn it on and off is on the actual handle. The first one we bought for her had to be turned on and off at the top of the shower where it comes out of the wall. This meant it had to be on all the time or she had to try and stand up to turn the water flow on or off. We were afraid of her falling! The hose was thin and cheap too and kept getting wrapped around things. Just a few things to think about!

  6. For my grand parents i used senior friendly bathroom tips that are useful for them and also searching for walk in bath tub i have similar idea in walk in bath showers

  7. Great tips mentioned! I would also add that specialist bathing solutions should be designed for the safety and dignity of bathers.

  8. A couple other economical alternatives to a walk in tub are bathtub lift chairs and sliding transfer benches. These help to significantly increase safety AND use your existing tub.

    Hope this helps!

    Andrew

  9. For me, the ideal bathroom for someone (seniors) is an assisted bathroom or a wet room. A massive convenience, both are ideal bathing solutions.

  10. Good information about the benefits of Senior Friendly Bathrooms. And Yes, non-slip mat in the shower prevents the seniors from falling in the time of bathing.

  11. Have you checked the prices of walk-in tubs? My senior father has a clawfoot tub in his bathroom (accident waiting to happen) and I’ve been searching the net for ideas how to (affordably – we’re not Rockefellers) fix his bathroom up. The cheapest walk-in tub I could find was for $2900.00 before tax.

  12. These are so great! I didn’t even think about a thicker mat. I also recommend lifting the sink or making sure there’s enough space for wheelchair access.

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