The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in most homes, which explains why bathroom remodeling is popular. Renovating the bathroom can make this space more aesthetically pleasing while improving its functionality. However, these are not the only reasons why you may be looking for tips for renovating a small bathroom. If the bathroom is going to be used by a senior citizen, you need to think of renovation ideas that will make the bathroom a safer place for the elderly. Let’s explore the safety features to add to your bathroom to reduce the risks your elderly loved ones face when using the bathroom.
Install Non-Slip Flooring
Applying the best tips for renovating a small bathroom for your elderly loved ones because they should be able to use the bathroom without worrying about tripping, slipping, or falling. It’s important for seniors to age gracefully in place. Therefore, making these considerations while renovating the bathroom is an important part of home health care along with other factors, such as healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss planning. If you’re beginning your renovation from the bottom up, your first port of call should be the flooring. Since it’s normal for the bathroom floor to get wet, you need to install non-slippery floors.
The wrong choice of material can make bathroom floors extremely wet and dangerous. On the other hand, if you install slip-resistant floors, the risk of tripping and falling becomes considerably less. Keep in mind that no-slippery isn’t exactly the same as waterproof. For instance, you may find that ceramic and porcelain tiles are waterproof but they can be notoriously slippery when wet. If you want better usability and more grip then you should consider vinyl flooring. Besides having a resin-coated and textured surface, vinyl offers additional benefits such as water resistance, easy installation, durability, low maintenance, comfort, and cost-effectiveness.
Another alternative that might be suitable is rubber flooring. Rubber is naturally water-resistant and does not absorb moisture. Therefore, you can use it as safe, slip-resistant flooring for bathroom renovations. Additionally, rubber flooring comes with additional benefits. It’s easy to clean, so it requires less maintenance. It’s also very eco-friendly because it can be sourced naturally and is sustainable and recyclable. Although it may come with higher upfront costs compared to other options, it’s quite durable, so it’s well worth the investment. Other non-slip bathroom flooring options you may want to consider include textured stone and linoleum. Keep in mind that these materials won’t eliminate the risk of falling entirely, but they can be quite effective in this regard.
Put Safety Grab Bars At Strategic Points
One of the best tips for renovating a small bathroom for an elderly loved one is to install grab bars. According to the CDC, those who aim to make the bathroom a safer place should install grab bars inside and outside the tub as well as next to the toilet. For those who are unsure, grab bars are bars that you can grasp to steady yourself and maintain your balance. They also provide the support that seniors need, so they don’t get fatigued easily while standing in the bathroom. As mentioned, strategic points for installing grab bars include in the tub or shower area and next to the sink and toilet. When bathroom grab bars are installed next to the toilet, for example, your loved one can use them for support when lowering themselves onto the seat. They can also use the grab bar to hoist themselves up when done.
When shopping around for bathroom grab bars, you need to be aware there are different types available. There are wall-mounted grab bars that are installed using screws to anchor them firmly to the wall. This is in contrast to suction grab bars which use suction cups to adhere to the wall. Suction cups are generally not a good idea for your renovation because they don’t provide a lot of support. You should consider more suitable options like folding grab bars which can be pulled up and tucked down to save space when not in use. Then you also have floor mounted and free-standing grab bars.
When choosing which type of grab bars to choose, you should consider factors like how much grip they can afford. Picture a scenario where someone is applying acne cream but then fails to secure a firm hold on the bars because their hands are too slippery. You should also consider how much weight the grab bar can accommodate, how much bathroom space you have, and whether the grab bar is easy to install.
Ensure Easy Access
Bathroom falls among the elderly can often lead to serious injuries. According to Caregiver.com, almost a third or 30% of adults aged 65+ who sustained injuries in the bathroom also suffered from fractures. Slip and fall accidents can also cause neck pain and traumatic dental injuries, thus necessitating the need to find local dentists. Bathroom remodeling can help minimize the risk of all this especially if you focus on making the bathroom as easily accessible as possible. The best tips for renovating a small bathroom for seniors should allow them to age gracefully. Therefore, if you want to provide the easiest access, make sure you’re renovating a bathroom on the main level of the home.
That way, there’s no need for your loved one to climb or move down the stairs when they want to use the bathroom. If there’s no bathroom on the same floor as the bedroom, kitchen, and other common areas that your loved one frequents, you might want to consider a bathroom addition. In any case, you should ensure that the bathroom remodel leaves enough room for space to move. This is an essential need because seniors tend to require more space when maneuvering themselves around the bathroom, especially when using walkers or a wheelchair. The ideal bathroom layout should be spacious enough because using a cramped bathroom might prove difficult.
It’s also important to make the bathtub easily accessible because a bathtub without proper access presents a safety issue for someone who wants to age in the comfort of their home. One of the best tips for renovating a small bathroom for seniors is to modify the layout to create a safer way to access the tub. The good news is you can find a wide range of walk-in tubs on the market today. So, if the existing bathtub is not easily accessible, you can replace it with a walk-in tub which eliminates the need to climb over the edge. If there’s a shower, then you need to think about getting rid of the curb if there’s one. This is referred to as a roll-in shower and makes sure it has a wide entrance to allow access for a wheelchair if there’s a need.
Upgrade the Lighting
When looking for the best tips for renovating a small bathroom for seniors, it’s essential not to leave out lighting. After all, the bathroom’s functionality is greatly limited if one can not see their way around properly. When it comes to upgrading bathroom lighting, you should try and maximize natural light as much as possible. This should provide most of the illumination needed during the day. Natural light can come in through strategically placed windows or skylights. One of the biggest advantages of natural light is that it’s quite easy on the eyes and can be beneficial to health.
For nighttime use, watch out for harsh lighting and work to reduce the amount of glare on different waterproof surfaces in the bathroom. You should also install lighting that offers as much flexibility as possible. For instance, dimmers will enable your loved one to adjust the intensity and brightness level of the lighting in case there’s too much glare. In any case, it’s good to have layered lighting in the bathroom. Ambient lighting is used for general illumination and most ambient lighting you’re familiar with is ceiling mounted and focused downward. On the other hand, task lighting focuses on a particular area where the task is being performed. Effective task lighting shouldn’t create glare, and it should be strong enough to prevent eye strain.
You can place lighting in various areas of the bathroom. You can start by placing vanity lights at the top of the mirror or add recessed lights around the vanity. If there are any bathroom structures that are creating shadows, consider adding strip lighting underneath, whether it’s shelves or wall-mounted cabinets. To ensure that the tub and shower are well lit, you can add wall sconces and other sources of light directly above them, as well as near the toilet. Installing night lights might be a good idea too. Night lights are meant to be light-sensitive so that your loved one isn’t forced into wakefulness when they have to get up to use the bathroom each night.
Upgrade the Toilet Seat
The good news is that you don’t need a complete overhaul of the toilet plumbing to make the toilet safer to use for elderly loved ones. One of the simplest tips for renovating a small bathroom for seniors is to install a raised toilet seat. As the name suggests, this type of seat has a greater height than the regular seat, so it’s easier for your loved one to sit and stand when using the toilet. A raised toilet seat is especially beneficial for people who easily get fatigued or have leg weakness. The last thing you want is for your loved one to find it difficult to use the toilet so much so that they avoid it.
When choosing a raised seat, there are several considerations you need to make, such as the design, weight capacity, and height. Some seats come with handles and some are designed to have an adjustable height. You also have to consider whether you want a seat that comes with additional features. You can opt for hinged seats that can be folded upward in case someone is using the toilet and doesn’t need a raised seat. Additionally, some seats have support arms, providing seniors with more stability when sitting or standing.
Install Easy-to-Use Fixtures and Accessories
The truth is that there are so many tips for renovating a small bathroom that can create a safer environment for your loved one. Some tips can be as simple and economical as adding non-slip mats inside and outside the shower. Even when you have also installed non-slip floors, the right bathroom mats can enhance safety. You may also want to attend to all leaky faucet repairs and get rid of unwanted sources of moisture that can contribute to the slipperiness of the floors. Besides a bathroom mat, you may also want to invest in a shower seat or a bathroom bench. This enables your loved one to sit wherever possible without becoming too fatigued.
When investing in bathroom furniture, such as stools, cabinets, vanities, chairs, or benches, consider investing in Amish furniture, which has a reputation for being strong and steady. Another way to make bathing easier and safer is to get a sprayer attachment that connects to the showerhead. A detachable showerhead is handy because it allows your loved one to sit comfortably in their shower seat. They can hold the shower head in their hand, without having to stand up for long periods.
These are the top tips for renovating a small bathroom for your elderly loved one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bathrooms have been identified as a particularly hazardous location. Data from the CDC describes a report which mentions that an estimated 234,094 nonfatal bathroom injuries were reported in 2008 alone. What was interesting was that these injuries increased with age, and older adults are encouraged to be careful when performing high-risk bathroom activities. These activities include getting in and out of the bathtub or shower or using the toilet. The good news is that by applying these tips for renovating a small bathroom, you can make the bathroom a less dangerous place for your elderly loved one.