Aging in Place: Bathroom Accessibility

Planning to age in place could mean home renovations are necessary.  Probably the most important renovation if you own a two-story home is having a bathroom on the first or lower level of the home.

If there is a bathroom on the first level, or you need to add a bathroom, there are things you’ll need to consider:

  1. Is there space on the lower level to put a bathroom? – You’ll want to ensure that not only is there enough space for the room itself, but that plumbing and electric work can be completed in that area.
  2. Is there adequate space to move around? – If you use a cane, wheelchair or walker, is there enough room to move through the bathroom without risk of causing you to trip and fall?
  3. Grab Bars – Especially at the toilet, grab bars can help with standing and sitting to help keep balance and prevent falls. You’ll also need grab bars around the shower area to help keep balance when getting in and out of the tub or shower.
  4. Accessible Shower – Most homes have tubs and showers that are not accessible for someone with mobility issues. As you age and need help with mobility, a walk-in shower can make a big difference in preventing falls.  Grab bars, shower seats and adjustable shower heads can make a huge difference in maintaining your independence and preventing falls.
  5. Walk-in Bathtub – Since it can become increasingly difficult to step into a traditional bathtub, walk-in tubs are another great alternative if you prefer baths instead of showers. There are a variety of walk-in tubs on the market that can replace your existing tub or be added to your new bathroom.
  6. Accessible Toilet – The height of your toilet can make a huge difference in assisting you with sitting and standing. If the toilet is too low, a balance issue could cause you to miss the toilet and fall.  Adding a toilet with better height can be more comfortable and safe as you age.

Aging in place does come with a lot of considerations, particularly with your bathroom.  Your contractor can help you choose an area of your home to add a bathroom as well as discuss options to help prevent falls and keep you in your home longer.

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