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Things To Consider When Designing A Bathroom For Older Clients

Last summer my parents decided it was time to remolded their bathroom. Basically, the toilet was starting to fall thru the floor and my Mom was having a hard time getting into their shower and tub combination to take a shower. She’s just not as flexible as she use to be. My mom is 78 and my dad is 82 years old. They are healthy and are in really good shape for their ages. God willing, they are only going to get older. Since, we needed to address the toilet that was falling thru the floor, we decided to go ahead and make some changes that would make it easier for them later on down the road.

When designing a bathroom for older clients you should try and anticipate how their needs might change in the future; consider installing a curbless shower so that they can access the shower via a walker or wheel chair, and also installing supports for grab bars. In my parents case they don’t need the grab bars right now but, by going ahead and adding the supports they can easily be installed later on when they need them. Think about adding a bench. My dad didn’t want a bench. He said he would never use it. I convinced my mom to go ahead and put one in. Two months later my dad needed a knee replacement and guess who used that bench everyday. Hand held shower faucets are another great idea. Today you can purchase shower faucets that have a shower head and a hand held faucet combination. Instead of installing glass my mom opted for a shower curtain. This will make it easier to access the shower later on. Make sure you install a comfort height toilet. They are taller and easier to use. We also decided to make our vanity as tall as we could. Again this just makes it easier to use. When picking out faucets make sure they have levers as a posed to knobs. These will be easier for them to use later on. A five foot turning radius is great if you have the space. This will make it easier to turn around with a wheel chair. In our case, our foot print for the bathroom did not allow for that.

So, the next time that you find yourself remodeling a bathroom for someone older, keep in mind that the room needs to be as accessible as possible and the items that you install should be easy and comfortable to operate.

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