One of the highest risks for elderly people living at home is ‘having a fall’, and one of the most common places this happens is in the bathroom. If you are planning to live your senior years at home or if you or a family member have a physical disability, there are a number of things you should consider when planning to update your bathroom.
MMD is Geelong’s most experienced disability renovation and modifications provider, here are our Top 8 things to think about when planning your bathroom update:
Make it easy-access
Ease of access into the bathroom and shower is critical. You may need to make provisions for a wheelchair or walking frame and eliminate any steps. A walk-in shower with no lip to step over is fantastic so residents can easily walk or wheel into the shower. Also, consider the bathroom door access. In an emergency, a door with lift off door hinges is ideal
Raise the toilet height
Regular toilet heights are between 420 – 460mm, however, a toilet height of 480 – 530mm can make using the toilet much easier for seniors and wheelchair users. Some toilets are designed to have an optional backrest and arm rails to help with toilet transfers. If you are not in a position to replace the whole toilet, seat risers are an available option.
Walk-in showers & hand held shower heads
The safest option for showering is a walk-in shower that is big enough for a shower chair and enough space for a carer to assist with showering if required. A hand held shower head on a rail is the best option especially if someone is assisting with bathing.
Add a shower seat/shower chair
A shower seat can make a world of difference to someone who has lost mobility or the ability to stand for a period of time. They can have some independence with showering and enjoy their daily shower instead of it becoming a chore.
Switching all the taps to lever mixers will make turning on and adjusting the water pressure/temp easier with one hand.
Grab rails are an essential safety requirement in the bathroom. Rails can be powder coated to match existing décor if stainless steel is not your preferred style. Rails come in a huge range of options in design, such as drop-down rails for next to the toilet, towel grab rails and tee-section rails for the shower for your hand held shower head to slide on.
Cabinet handles & switches
Ensure that handles on cupboards and drawers are big enough to grab hold of for someone who has arthritis. Knobs and finger pulls are a big no-no. Also, oversize switches for power points and lights can make a huge difference to the elderly or visually impaired.
When deciding on the flooring for your bathroom, remember that whilst glossy floor tiles look amazing, they are also a dangerous slip hazard when wet. Opt for matt or natural finish tiles or non-slip vinyl.
The team at MMD can assist with design, planning and installation of your bathroom update. Contact MMD Maintenance on (03) 5222 6022. Our experienced and skilled team members can manage your project and coordinate all the different tradespeople required to do it all! From construction to painting to renovation projects, we can create the perfect new bathroom you need.