No-one likes admitting they are getting older and Baby Boomers are completely redefining the golden years. 60 is the new 40 and you are more likely to find boomers hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and doing their first triathlon than sitting at home knitting and napping.
According to AARP, (American Association of Retired Persons) 87% of American adults aged 65+ want to stay in their own homes as they age. Boomers are a smart, savvy group who are well aware that they may need to adapt their homes based on future needs. They just don’t want to be hit in the face with any of the paraphernalia of aging.
If you are planning a bathroom remodel, consider the principles of Universal Design so you can create a functional, safe and accessible space that is also stylish and elegant and doesn’t shout – old people live here! Read our article WHAT IS UNIVERSAL DESIGN?
A broken hip is no fun. Make sure the flooring you choose is slip resistant. You can still go with tile, which creates a clean, classic look and is also extremely durable, waterproof and stain-resistant. Just don’t choose a polished, shiny finish, which can be like a skating rink when wet. Matte finishes or honed stone are more slip friendly for your bathroom remodel.
Underfloor heating is one of the best bathroom remodel ideas. It is toasty and luxurious and makes lingering in the bathroom a pleasure. Grandchildren, parents and grandparents will all love it. Normal air always feels cold on wet skin so you want your bathroom to be warmer than other areas in your home.
WALK IN SHOWER WITH BUILT IN SEAT
The larger the shower, the easier it is to move around. Having a built in seat is an excellent bathroom remodel idea and gives you the option of showering seated or standing. If your shower is small, try a shower seat that folds flush against the wall when not in use. Low curb or curbless showers make for the easiest access.
If your space allows, consider a doorless shower that makes life with a wheelchair simpler and has the added bonus of minimizing cleaning. Going doorless creates an aesthetic flow and makes the bathroom appear larger.
ADJUSTABLE HANDHELD SHOWER
A handheld shower will make showering while sitting down much more comfortable. Installing the shower on a slidebar enables you to adjust it to any height.
Grab bars no longer need to look like institutionalized chrome. Manufacturers have created designer lines in all sorts of sizes and finishes that coordinate with towel racks and other accessories. These new stylish grab bars are barely noticeable when they are incorporated into the overall design.
COMFORT HEIGHT TOILETS
This is a touchy area. Who wants to admit that they have difficulty sitting down and getting back up again? Comfort height toilets are only between 2 and 4 inches taller than regular toilets but that extra height can make life easier if you experience pain in your hips or knees. If you have room to add a reinforced towel rail next to the toilet this will add some unobtrusive leverage to assist with standing up.
LOVE THE LEVERS
Round, smooth door knobs and old, hard to turn faucets can be a challenge for hands that suffer from arthritis and reduced dexterity. Replace them with a lever style. There is a vast array of styles and prices to choose from.
Make sure that you install adequate task lighting so you can see clearly for daily grooming.
It doesn’t matter how fit and healthy you stay, eyesight deteriorates with age. Installing a magnifying mirror in addition to the main vanity mirror is a sensible bathroom remodel idea.
CONTRAST YOUR COLORS
Using contrasting colors for countertops and different areas of the bathroom can help with diminished depth perception.
WHAT ABOUT THE TUB?
From a resale point of view, it is important to keep one tub in your home so that you don’t limit potential future buyers. If you have no plans to sell, assess how important a tub is to you. As mobility becomes more restricted and joints stiffen, getting in and out of the bath can become quite tricky. There are walk in tubs on the market that have either a door that opens on the side, or where one side of the bath slides up and down.
For safer access to a regular bathtub, choose a built in tub that has handles and a ledge around it so you can sit down and swing your legs in.