Many changes come with age, but one thing most people agree they don’t want to change is where they live. Aging in place is important to many people, and fortunately, some updates to frequently used rooms such as the bathroom can make a big difference in helping people stay safe and secure.
Data shows that 77% of adults 50 and older want to stay in their homes long term, according to the AARP Home and Community Preferences Survey. This number has been consistent for over a decade, showing that adults prefer to age in place.
When updating a home for aging in place, the bathroom is one of the most important spaces to focus on. Because so many activities happen in this room, it needs to be updated to be safe, secure and functional for people with varying physical abilities.
The most important bathroom updates for aging in place include:
Fall prevention is essential in the bathroom, and a good place to start is by looking at the floors. Tile is popular in bathrooms but can be slippery. Eliminate rugs and mats that may be a tripping hazard. Then assess current flooring and consider adding non-slip mats or other non-slip features inside and outside the bath or shower. Finally, if flooring is too slippery, updating to a slip-resistant linoleum or other option might make sense.
As you age, it becomes more difficult to sit down and get back up. A taller toilet can help make using the bathroom easier. For example, the Highline Tall Toilet is Kohler’s tallest toilet to provide ultimate accessibility and ease of use. Additionally, it has a clean, simple design and efficient performance featuring an innovative 1.28-gallon flush setting. If you’d prefer not to replace your existing toilet, swap out your current seat for the Hyten Toilet Seat that adds 3 inches of height to your toilet bowl and looks just like a normal toilet seat, only taller.
Proper lighting enhances the functionality of any bathroom and is especially important for older adults with vision impairment. Overhead lighting as well as task lighting by vanities is important for all grooming activities. Make sure to use LED bulbs that tend to be brighter and more energy efficient. Additionally, consider lights that make it easy to navigate to the bathroom at night, such as motion lights and nightlights.
Bathing is an important self-care task but can be challenging for aging adults. To make these tasks simpler, consider adding a shower seat and detachable shower head to showers for easier cleaning. That way you can sit while you hold the sprayer in your hands which helps prevent slips. Very low or zero entry showers are also good because they reduce the chance of tripping.
Being able to securely hold yourself steady while navigating the bathroom helps prevent falls and other accidents. That’s why grab bars are essential for aging in place, and are especially useful by the toilet and around the shower and bath. Not only are Kohler Bathroom Grab Bars sturdy and durable, they come in a vast array of styles and finishes to fit seamlessly into any design. There are even styles that match faucet collections, creating a cohesive look.
Dexterity can be an issue for aging adults, making it difficult to twist faucet knobs. A bathroom faucet with a lever eliminates the need for twisting by featuring a single lever that is easy to move to adjust the water temperature and pressure. Plus, a single lever is often easier to clean, which is a good thing for people who desire to age in place.
Being able to stay in your home where you feel comfortable is important as you age. With these smart bathroom updates, you can feel safer and more secure.
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