Remodeling a bathroom can be quite pricey, so you need to consider your life now as well as the next 10+ years when deciding on the amenities to include in your updated bathroom.
As people get older, they may have problems with mobility, accessibility, gripping, and slipping.
When remodeling a bathroom, you should consider using universal design, which is design that is appropriate for all ages (ages 0 to 100+) as well as all ability levels.
Here are a few ideas for remodeling for older adults that might also work well for other age groups.
Commercial spaces require that all doors be at least 36" wide to accommodate a wheelchair passing through.
Anyone of any age can break a leg and be required to use a wheelchair for a few weeks or longer.
Make sure that the door to your bathroom (as well as any door you go through in your bathroom - such as to the toilet room or a shower door), is wide enough so you can get into your bathroom in a wheelchair, else you will be required to stay in a hospital and be left with a crazy expensive hotel bill.
If you do not have a door from your bedroom to your bathroom, make sure that the doorway clearance is at least 32" wide.
Not only does someone in a wheelchair need room to get into the room, but they also need floor space to be able to turn around and get out.
Make sure that there is plenty of room to either turn around in the middle of the room or do a 3 point turn.
Easy to Turn Door and Faucet Knobs
Traditional round knobs can be very difficult to rotate for people with arthritis or limited strength in their hands.
Instead of a knob that must be grasped, use levers instead.
You can even use a motion sensor faucet so no knob is necessary.
Roll Under Countertop
Consider making one section of your bathroom countertop the appropriate height for someone to be able to roll a wheelchair underneath and access one of the sinks.
You can get a special cabinet made that looks like the other cabinets now, but is able to retrofit in case wheelchair accessibility is needed in the future.
Ensure that the hot water pipes below the countertop will not burn the person's legs.
Also consider using a tilting mirror so people of different heights can see themselves.
You may be too young to install grab bars, but you should prepare your bathroom to be able to have them installed in the future.
Grab bars must be attached to something that can handle a person's weight, so you should add wood studs in places where grab bars might be located at a later date.
Some people go so far as to install plywood from floor to ceiling to allow grab bars to be installed anywhere in the future.
Locations where grab bars are most needed include around a toilet, inside and outside a bathtub, inside and outside a shower, near a door that might need to be opened, and and near a sink where someone might be standing.
Standing up from a seated position is hard for some people, so you should consider replacing a standard height toilet with a taller height toilet.
A temporary solution to get a taller toilet is to use a seat extender.
Dim lighting can be dangerous in a bathroom, especially in a shower.
Increase the amount of lighting when remodeling your bathroom to increase safety.
You can add extra light fixtures or use light fixtures with more light bulbs than the fixtures you currently have.
If you use lower wattage light bulbs in your bathroom, the simple solution is to replace the light bulbs with ones that have a greater wattage and increased light output.
Most showers have a door threshold or curb that makes it very difficult or impossible for wheelchairs to enter.
If remodeling your shower, select a threshold that is minimal or flush with the floor.
Some people make their entire bathroom into a wet room with one continuous floor for ease of cleaning and accessibility.
Also make sure that the location of the water controls, shampoo shelf, towel bar, and shower head are reachable from a seated position.
A hand held shower head is very helpful.
Make sure to add a shower seat (either built in, fold down, or removable) in case someone does not have the strength to stand for long periods of time or in case they might get dizzy and need to sit while showering.
Walk In Tub
Walk in tubs are rather new and not everyone has even heard of such a thing.
Walk in tubs typically have a door and a built in seat.
No Slip Floor
Older adults tend to have problems with slipping and falling, resulting in serious injury.
Make sure that any flooring selected is not slick.
Consider selecting smaller 3" or 4" tile instead of a 12" or 18" since the grout between the tiles helps make it less slippery.
If someone has a problem with tripping, avoid using rugs that can become a trip hazard.
The door is water tight and will allow you to fill the tub and bathe while seated.
Walk in tubs are easier to use than a standard bathtub for small children, older adults, and everyone in between.