Designing an age-in-place bathroom is on the radar for many homeowners in or approaching their senior years. Depending on which survey you’re reading, some number between 77% and 90% of that demographic wants to stay in their current home, or purchase a home, for aging-in-place. There are many factors that support that, but a floor plan that facilitates designing an age-in-place bathroom is a primary one.
What is an Age-in-Place Bathroom?
Accessibility, comfort and safety define the elements in this space. The bathroom must be located on the first floor, and the fixtures must be accessible to someone using a walker. To take it a step further, to be accessible for a wheelchair a doorway needs to be a minimum of 32 inches wide, and the clearance for the door swing after entering the bathroom needs to be adequate.
Plenty of clearance allows for moving easily around the room. The toilet is taller for accessibility, comfort and safety. It’s easier for sitting and getting up!
Zero-clearance showers, or low-lip showers reduce tripping and make it easier to navigate if a walker is being used. A bench or seat allows the user to relax AND be safe. Multiple shower heads, and/or a moveable shower head add convenience and a spa-like experience. A bench or seat and a moveable shower head or handheld shower also help a caregiver if that ever becomes necessary.
Another possibility for an age-in-place bathroom is a walk-in tub. However, this decision requires careful consideration because it may limit the audience for eventual resale.
Dexterity challenges are minimized using lever style handles on faucets.
Floors and shower pans should be nonslip. Grab bars are needed in the shower and near the toilet. And let there be light! Lots of it. Not blinding, but clearly illuminating the area.
Age-in-Place Bathroom: How Boring, Right?
On the contrary, designing an age-in-place bathroom need not be boring or institutional or any of the other negative connotations that may be associated with things like grab bars and tall toilets.
The hardware for faucets, showers and cabinetry is bathroom jewelry. There is a wealth of design and color to provide ample choice, even while considering potential dexterity challenges. Light fixtures are another opportunity to really express your design esthetic while erasing dark corners and shadows. Even grab bars have evolved. The material choices for flooring and low-maintenance shower walls has exploded.
It is possible to create an elegant space that suits your lifestyle now AND allows for accessibility, comfort and safety, allowing you to enjoy your home for as long as you wish. Design experts have the experience to help you in designing an age-in-place bathroom for now and then.