As baby boomers begin to age, there has been a shift in the plumbing and construction industries to provide housing upgrades that are stylish but promote safe aging in place. This is commonly referred to as universal design, which is the concept that a space should be safe to use for people of varying ages and abilities. If you are considering a bathroom remodel in the near future, it is important to add stylish safety features that will either allow you to age in your home or make your home more attractive to buyers if you eventually decide to sell your home. Below are five of the more common ways to utilize universal design in your bathroom.
A shower seat allows people who are unable to stand in the shower due to age or injury to sit while they wash themselves. However, a well-designed shower seat will look stylish as well as being useful. Teak seats enhance your bathroom with a touch of nature and can be comfortable to sit on. If you extend an individual seat into a bench, it can also be used to store bathing products or for parents to sit on while they help their children bathe.
Walk-in bathtubs are usually shorter in length and taller in height. They promote an upright bathing position that is easy to stand up from when you are finished bathing. They also include a door that swings in or out when the tub is empty to allow easy access to the tub.
The great thing about walk-in bathtubs is that they require less space than traditional tubs that users lounge in. This means that it may be possible to add a walk-in tub to a smaller bathroom without sacrificing maneuverability in the room.
The use of comfort-height toilets is on the rise. These are toilets that are set a couple of inches higher than standard toilets. You can turn your own toilet into a comfort height toilet by installing a riser beneath it or installing a raised seat on it. However, another option you may want to consider is a wall-mounted toilet.
Wall-mounted toilets can be placed at the taller height that makes it easier for elderly people to sit and stand. However, they also make room to store a small footstool beneath the toilet to promote ergonomic defecation and allow young children access to the toilet. Wall-mounted units also make it easier to maneuver wheel chairs or walkers closer to the toilet for easy access when you are injured or otherwise unable to walk without assistance.
Dual-Function Grab Bars
Grab bars in your shower or near your vanity can help you stand in a slippery environment. However, you may not want obvious grab bars, as this can make your bathroom look institutional. A stylish option is to install weight-supporting grab bars that do double duty as a storage basket for toiletries or bathroom essentials.
Finally, if you are doing a complete remodel of your bathroom, consider installing a curbless shower. A curbless shower has no level change between the main bathroom area and the shower, allowing you to walk into it with a walker or a wheelchair. Not having to take a step can prevent you from tripping or accidentally slipping as well. Curbless showers tend to look modern and sleek, making your bathroom look open and bigger, so they are a stylish option as well as a safe choice.
As you redesign your bathroom, it is important to consider aging in place. Ask the plumbers at a company like Belfair Plumbing & Drain Service for more ideas for safety features that can be installed in your bathroom without sacrificing style.