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7 Options For Senior Friendly Bathrooms

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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.


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?


  1. I recently fainted in my very small bathroom. As I am about to redo my bathroom, I would appreciate some advice about using a shower curtain vs a glass shower door. If I use a shower curtain and faint in the shower, it is possible that I will hit my head on the toilet. If I hit the shower door, I have read that even tempered glass could shatter. What you you think?
  2. I realize this is an old thread, but I can find nothing newer. I want a tub similar to the one that Kohler has discontinued, a chair height slide in tub where legs are straight out in front. For my mobility, I need to soak in a warm bath with legs straight. I do not understand some of these bath accomodations. Once you get a person in, the getting out is the big issue!! Any ideas of companies working on slide in tubs? Aquassure has one but I’d like an alternate design and price.
  3. Senior bathroom design: Why doesn’t someone ask seniors what they need? They need higher toilets with side arms to push up. A grab bar behind their head it worthless. Grab bars on the sides that are too high to push from are worthless, especially if the person has weak legs and needs to push up, not pull. A bathtub that makes the person sit and wait for it to fill and sit to wait for it to empty is foolish. Who wants that? If there is a whirlpool bath, it has to be fast fill and empty and no step entrance. A shower needs to be a no-step entrance with a raised seat with push bars (again, grab bars are not helpful except for balance). Seats in most conventional showers are geared for women to shave their legs. This is not a primary concern for seniors. Soaps and shampoos have to be reachable from the seat as does the water source. The water source should be heat controlled. There must be a non-slip floor. There should be a high seat in a dry area outside of the shower to dry and dress equipped with push bars. Entrance and use for those in wheelchairs is an entire other issue and I don’t see true handicapped accessibility for wheelchair accessible except for a no raise entrance to showers.
    1. You do sound angry. I’m sure it’s frustrating to have to wait for the water to drain, but be thankful that you can get wet and bathe. So many seniors cannot afford these bath tubs. They spend the rest of their life bathing with wet wipes. My parents included. ?
    2. This is the best advice I have ever read. Thank you. I am designing a bathroom for my parents now and this info is invaluable.
    3. very good advice these are things my dad needs but the people designing senior bathrooms have never had muscle weakness or balance problems. he slips and falls easy.
  4. my husband first used the toilet seat when bathing ,when he had been operated on his ankle. I also followed his practice. Soon after I used the toilet I remain there sitting to start bathing,th we plan to install a bathroom in our 4.5 m master,s bedroom, , following some suggestions from the upper threads.thanks for any more suggestions, t
  5. It’s also good to note that a walk-in tub and shower combo is an excellent option for athletes and anyone with joint discomfort. Not having to step over the wall of a tub protects worn knees, hips, the back, and other areas from added wear. Thanks!
  6. Who makes a walk in tub to replace and existing walk in shower. The space measures 35 5/8” wide by 36” deep?
  7. As a bathroom lover and some person in my families are adult and senior, the guy explains this issue very helpful way. Our bathroom shower valve can not provide a water supply. What is the main problem?
  8. My husband and I are remodeling our bathroom for our senior years. These clawfoot/standalone tubs are absurd. They are barely safe for ANYone. They are too deep an have nothing to balance on. We are replacing our old tub with an undermounted tub with plenty o decking to sit on.
  9. Everyone I come across are paranoid about us all having a bath. People who sya this are usually under 50 and agile. Both my wife and I simply want a shower, no leg lifting, no slipping over and breaking hips, no sitting down in fact the best solution to bathing, a showere cannot be faulted. It is also more enviromentally friendly thand squatting in your own dirty water !!
    1. I’m 72 years old and have showered every day of my adult life! Cannot stand baths, but to each his own. My mother and sister only bathe! ? It messes up their hair! Lol My mother was a sweet little, southern, hairdresser! In Assisted Living, she learned to shower and greatly enjoyed it!
  10. For me, one aspect of walk-in tubs that is commonly overlooked is the time it takes to fill and drain when the person is sitting in the tub.
  11. I am remodeling my whole house to age in place. Bathrooms with features seniors require are key. 36″ pocket door at entrance of master bath so I won’t have a door to swing open/close should I be using a walker or wheelchair. Walk in shower with a shower curtain. Glass doors reduce your entry size. Grab bar/ toilet paper holder or a grab bar next to toilet, set at an angle to accommodate different heights of people. Replace all door handles with lever handles. Cabinet hardware with closed ends do clothing doesn’t catch. Vanity with slide out shelves. Light/vent/heater, have the heater on a timer so it shuts off automatically. Add outlets that are easy to get to and eliminate the need to have cords across the vanity.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
    1. I have been told that a normal bathtub can have a doorway cut out so an elderly person can easily step over the lip of the entry. Has anyone heard of doing this?
  16. 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!
  17. 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
    1. HI Joy – I know this is a 2 year old post, but I’m considering the same for my mother. One aspect of walk-in tubs that is commonly overlooked is the time it takes to fill and drain when the person is sitting in the tub. They FREEZE! An ability to heat the room sufficiently is needed, even a standalone heater for the bathroom. Did you find this an issue as well? If so, what did you do? Thanks!
  18. Great tips mentioned! I would also add that specialist bathing solutions should be designed for the safety and dignity of bathers.
  19. 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
  20. For me, the ideal bathroom for someone (seniors) is an assisted bathroom or a wet room. A massive convenience, both are ideal bathing solutions.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
    1. Contact the original tubcut for an inexpensive and 100% reversible problem solver. But it won’t work on a clawfoot tub.
  23. 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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