Renewal Design-Build has had the pleasure of visiting many 55+ and senior homeowners in the Atlanta area to discuss aging in place home renovations. We have enjoyed talking with homeowners about their current needs for accessibility in their homes, and their anticipated needs for the future. We typically discuss many of the common aging in place home design criteria, such as extra wide hallways and the minimum requirement of at least one step-free entrance to the home. Eventually, we address aging in place design strategies for the bathroom.
Individuals who have experienced a progressive illness, an injury, or a disabling health problem may encounter significant accessibility challenges in the bathroom. Very few of today’s bathrooms are handicap accessible. Additionally, accessibility upgrades required in the bathroom may be much more extensive than simply adding grab bars in strategic locations.
What are the particular accessibility challenges encountered in most bathrooms? Today’s bathroom typically includes a standard height toilet, a vanity with cabinets below, tight spaces, traditional bathtubs, and shower stalls with a raised shower pan sill. Each of these items may present an obstacle to a wheelchair-bound individual.
The following are a few of the aging in place bathroom design tips we share with our prospective clients:
No-threshold Showers: No-threshold showers enable wheelchair-bound individuals to simply roll in to the shower. They also allow a mobile individual with a disability or infirmity to easily walk in. Many no-threshold showers are equipped with grab bars and wall mounted seats for increased comfort and security, in addition to other safety features such as anti-scald shower faucets.
The no-threshold shower presents a particular design challenge, since the shower drain must be set at a lower elevation than the bathroom floor, as the sill must be removed for accessibility. A home renovation company experienced in aging in place design, such as Renewal Design-build, will have a variety of viable options for the homeowner to consider, such as an open shower area with a sloping floor, or a shower pan that is set slightly below the finished floor height.
Walk-in Tubs: The walk in tub is another popular accessibility feature in the bathroom designed with aging in place in mind. Walk-in tub models offer in-line water heaters, a swinging door that seals in the water, hydrotherapy jets; and other features that offer a relaxing and safe bathing experience.
Aging in Place Bathroom Design Features: The aging in place bathroom will be spaciously designed to include a 60 inch wheelchair turning radius, grab bars, a roll under vanity, accessible storage and other features that provide ease-of-access and safety for the homeowner.