Bathrooms have unforgiving and slippery surfaces, and few dependable things to grasp onto, which greatly increases the chances for harm.
– Rein Tideiksaar Ph.D.
8 Basic Bathroom Items for Aging in Place
1. Small bathroom chair
2. Non-Slip Bath Mats
3. Hand-held Showerhead
4. Auto sensor-Night Light (Note: We use these and LOVE them)
5. Pump Soap
6. Grab Bars
7. Toilet Riser
8. Doorknobs/faucets Lever handles
Top 10 Aging in Place Bathroom Fixes
1. Anti-scald controls: Anti-scald valves have been required by code for years, but older homes may not have them.
See: The Family Handyman
2. Curbless Shower: A Water dam keeps moisture in drainage areas and away from dry floors, while allowing rolling chairs access to the shower. Or the Roman Shower without a rim, sloped toward the drain/infinity drain.
3. Enough clearance: Space enough for wheelchair to get through door and 180-degree turn in a bathroom = at least 5 feet of open space (unlockable doors from outside/open out-not in)
4. Grab bars: New generation grab bars combine form and function. Many double as towel and toilet roll holders; the designs are non-stigmatizing and simply delightful.
See: Grab Bar Specialists
5. Hand-held shower: A hand-held shower is a must for all ages and especially for those with physical challenges. Key element is to make sure the hand-held sprayer can reach your feet when seated on a shower bench (also can double as a bidet).
6. Shower Bench: A place to sit while you bathe.
See: The Teak Shower Seat
7. Slip-resistant floor: Keep floors dry, use non-skid mats under throw rugs (if they must have them), or you can apply slip-resistant floor treatments.
8. Lighting: Add a Vanity Light Mirror (non-glare), and make sure the pathway from the bedroom to the bathroom is lit up with nightlights in the hallway.
9. Tall toilets. Try a commode that is 16 to 18 inches high compared to standard 14- or 15-inch high seats; referred to as “comfort height” or chair height seats (not best for all people).
10. Wall-mounted sinks. Wheelchairs and walkers can easily slide under sinks that are mounted to the wall. There are no cabinets or pedestal which translates to more leg room.
See: How to Install a Wall Mount Bathroom Sink by Lowe’s (non-affiliate)
ConsumerAffaris: Making Bathrooms Safe for Seniors (recommend)
*Place a telephone or moisture-proof call-alert system in the bathroom; just in case.