Bathroom Design and the Elderly

How will your bathroom need to look and function 20 years from now? 30 years? 40 years? It is probably be safe to say that most of us (except maybe the contractors among us!) give this question little, if any, thought. A look into the future would indicate that many of us need to begin thinking about it—according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are almost 40 million people in the country aged 65 or over. By the year 2030, that number will rise to 72 million, or 19 percent of the population. This population growth at the older end of the spectrum will have an impact on many aspects of our lives, to include what and how we eat, how we get around, and yes, how we use our bathrooms.

Ask any senior and they will tell you—limitations imposed by age can manifest themselves in many ways around a home, but few places bring these limitations to light as glaringly as the bathroom. What once was a sanctuary where showering, brushing teeth, and answering nature’s call were all routine and even pleasant, is now a daunting zone of hard-to-turn handles, unreachable shelves, and unsympathetic fixtures. Thankfully, universal designs in the bathroom are becoming more widely implemented and practiced in the home design and remodeling industry, and they are bringing much needed relief for those in their twilight years.

There are three main considerations when designing or remodeling a bathroom to accommodate seniors—safety, ease of use, and functionality. Safety, of course, is at the top of the list. According to the CDC, over 235,000 people aged 15 or older go to the hospital each year as a result of injuries in the bathroom, and seniors are easily the most vulnerable group. So how to make the bathroom safer? Studies have shown that installing better lighting, plentiful handrails, non-slip floors, and no-step showers can go a long way in reducing the instances of injury. But safety is not the only element that makes a bathroom senior-friendly—the ability to easily move around and use the fixtures play an important role as well. A bathroom that is roomy enough for a wheelchair, has easy-to-turn levers instead of knobs, and has flat light switches, for example, will be much easier functionally for an older person to use.

One piece of good news about the aging of the U.S. population is that it will bring about plenty of new and creative ideas in the bathroom, and seniors won’t be the only beneficiaries. We at LUXE Linear Drains are excited about these design trends, and we will continue to produce drain products for the bathroom that will fit right in, making it a safer and more comfortable place—as it was meant to be.

To find out more about how we can help turn your bathroom into a room you can feel safe in and be proud of, contact us today!

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