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6 Tips for Creating a Senior-Friendly Bathroom

One way to help seniors to age-in-place is to ensure that their home has universal design elements. This is especially important for the bathroom. These six ideas to update older bathrooms will help to ensure independent living for as long as possible:

Widen doorways

To make doorways wheelchair accessible, they should be at least 36 inches wide instead of the standard 30 inches. Doorknobs should also be replaced with lever handles. Another possibility is to design a pocket door if there is limited clearing space.

Design a roll-in shower

These showers have a wide opening to allow easy wheelchair access. Grab bars, a folding bench and a handheld shower nozzle are also ideal for helping anyone who might need to be seated while showering.

Use lever-style handles

Elongated lever-style handles are much easier than rounded knobs for people with arthritis — or for anyone — to use.

Provide traction control for slippery floors

Polished marble floors in a bathroom are an accident waiting to happen. Install peel-and-stick floor strips in the shower and on the floor just outside it, or spray on a slip-resistance product that is safe to use on natural surfaces and doesn’t substantially change the floor’s look, color or feel.

Raise the toilet

Toilets should be two-and-a-half-inches higher than standard and there should be bracing in walls around the toilet for installation of grab bars. The toilet paper holder should allow rolls to be changed with one hand. And a toilet night-light motion sensor will help people to safely locate their toilet in the dark and help prevent falls.

Install a wall-mounted sink and pullout shelves.

This allows a person in a wheelchair to pull right up to the sink and sliding shelves are a practical alternative to bending and digging into a cabinet.  

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