Designing a Bathroom for a Senior Citizen

If you want to design the perfect bathroom for a senior citizen, whether personally or professionally, here are some great tips and ideas.

Design

The first thing you will want to consider for the bathroom is its overall design and function. Senior citizens have different mobility needs than others. If you are working with a loved one or client ask them for their input. Ask what areas you can make more accessible for them, and what areas are a challenge that your design plan could offer a solution for.

Some ideas are railings next to toilets, handicap accessible bathtubs, no-step showers, shower seats, and sinks, showers, and toilets that allow wheelchair and walker access. Bidets are a great addition to a bathroom for a senior citizen as well. Setting a safe water temperature limit is a good idea to prevent scalding, and lighting should be varied, not simply overhead. Overhead lighting alone can cast shadows and make areas difficult to see. Instead, have a variety of lighting options to illuminate the room well. Having a panic button or emergency waterproof phone in the bathroom is also a good idea.

Decor

No-slip mats are a must for hard floors. Paint should be a matte finish rather than glossy and you can use high contrasts in colors to differentiate certain sections of the bathroom. Consider using two different shaped handles for the hot and cold water, since most seniors have vision problems or remove their glasses when bathing they will be able to feel which handle is which.

Placing no-slip mats or stickers at the bottom of a tub or shower is another good decor idea. Adjustable or hand-held shower heads can make bathing easier and more enjoyable. Door handles should be a lever rather than a knob which is more difficult to grasp and turn for those with motor concerns.

Declutter

Make sure that all tripping hazards are addressed. Keep wires, cords, and clutter off the floor and away from tubs and showers. Have storage that is either open, like open shelving, or have items stored in drawers that do not require reaching too high or bending too low. You can install close glide drawers that will close slowly on their own, eliminating the need to slam drawers shut, and ensuring that drawers will be shut completely. Have open cabinets attached to the wall so items needed for a bath are at-hand and do not use suction cups, which tend to fall easily.

After the necessities are taken care of, have a little fun. You could install speakers for listening to music, flameless candles for atmosphere, an essential oil diffuser for relaxation, or a bubble feature that is available in some handicap accessible bathtubs for a spa-like feel right in the comfort and safety of a senior-friendly bathroom.

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