Aging in Place

By: Jodi Marks
Bathroom with easily accessible sink and toilet.

Bathroom with easily accessible sink and toilet.

As more and more folks are moving into their golden years, their safety needs are taking center stage in the bathroom design revolution . . . and all without the sacrifice of style.

With the golden agers, baby boomers are right around the corner in adding to this older population. Baby boomers statistically range from the birth years 1946 until 1964. The highest birth rate year recorded during that time was 1957, with an estimated 4.3 million babies born here in the U.S.

Comfort height toilet

Comfort height toilet.

Now there are more than 77 million baby boomers that are about to enter, or have entered, the age of retirement. And within the next decade, many folks in these combined generations will begin to feel the effects of aging on their health.

The great news is that companies are now taking notice of the need for increased safety in the home, especially in the bathroom as folks age and still want to stay in their homes. Entire lines of bathroom fixtures are now available that are designed to make the bathroom a much safer place, but without losing any of the style these savvy homeowners still desire. And many of these upgrades are very easy for the homeowner to install themselves.

Here are just a few ideas to think about if you or a loved one needs to update their bathroom so they can enjoy it for years to come and still be safe:

  1. Comfort Height Toilets: These toilets are 17” high from the floor with the added seat, instead of the standard 15” finished height. This makes sitting and standing much easier.
  2. Grab bars

    Grab bars

  3. Grab Bars: Installing grab bars in the tub area and toilet area of your bathroom have never looked so fashionable! Grab bars no longer look like they were plucked from a hospital wall but are designed to be integrated into the overall format of the room. Towel racks and toilet tissue holders are available that do double duty as disguised grab bars. And they come in many different styles and finishes to match the look of the room. Watch How to Install Grab Bars to find out more.
  4. Faucets: Lever handle on faucets have become very popular with aging in place homeowners. As we age, our hand strength weakens, but that doesn’t mean we have to suffer! Replacing a knob handle faucet with a lever handle allows you to push the water on without having to grip the handle to do it.
  5. Low Profile Tubs: Lower profile tubs now make it easier to step in and out of the tub, thus reducing the chances of tripping and falling. Another option would be installing tubs that are designed for sitting and then lounging as the sidewall rises after you are comfortably inside the tub.
  6. Faucets with lever handles.

    Faucets with lever handles.

  7. Lighting: Make sure there is adequate lighting in the bathroom area. Overhead lighting is typically not enough to give enough illumination to the bathroom. Adding lighting sconces around the sink area, as well as the shower/tub and toilet areas will provide much-needed light and add style to the room.
  8. Trip Hazards: Relocating or removing obstacles on the floor will greatly reduce the chance of an accident occurring. Things like trash cans, towel racks, or magazine racks should be cleared away from footpaths in the bathroom. Mats that do not have a slip resistant rubber bottom should also be removed to prevent tripping.

These are just a few ideas that help get your started when you are considering aging in place in your home.

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