Falls are one of the greatest injury risks for seniors, and the bathroom is a particularly hazardous room when it comes to fall risk. The tile that many bathrooms are covered with is slick even when dry, and it can be extra slippery when wet. Plus, getting on and off the toilet and in or out of the tub can be very difficult for people with mobility issues. If you want to make home a safer place for a senior in your life, remodeling the bathroom is a great place to start. Check out a few bathroom fixtures that will make the bathroom safer for seniors.
Have you ever noticed that your toilet seat is lower to the ground than any of the chairs that you normally sit in? That's because the standard height for a toilet is only about 15 inches, and some are even lower than that. This isn't a problem for most able-bodied adults, but for a senior with arthritis or mobility issues, lowering that far down can be a challenge. Transferring to a low toilet from a wheelchair is also difficult, because the toilet seat is considerably lower than the chair.
Fortunately, the solution is simple. Tall toilets, sometimes called comfort height toilets, are around 17 to 18 inches taller than standard toilets. Those few inches can make the difference between gently lowering onto the seat and falling onto the seat. Replacing a senior's standard toilet with a tall toilet immediately makes the bathroom safer.
Even an able-bodied person can have trouble climbing over the edge of a tall tub to take a bath. For someone who has mobility issues, it can be impossible. Imagine trying to climb over your tub's edge after a recent hip replacement! Even with assistance, it's a dangerous thing to attempt.
A walk-in tub can eliminate this problem while allowing a senior to retain their independence. These tubs have a door in front so the user can simply walk into the tub and close the door behind them. The door has an airtight seal, which prevents water from leaking onto the floor, and they also drain quickly so that the user doesn't have to wait too long to get out of the tub. The only drawback to a walk-in tub is that they tend to be bulky and take up a lot of space. If the bathroom is too small for a walk-in tub, a walk-in shower with a bench for sitting on may be a reasonable alternative.
Like the toilet, the primary problem with the sink is that it's often the wrong height. If it's too low, a senior may not be able to bend over safely to use it. Meanwhile, a senior in a wheelchair may not even be able to get close enough to the sink to use it while in their chair, especially if there's a cabinet directly underneath the sink.
Elevating the sink and taking out the cabinetry underneath to leave room for the senior's wheelchair and legs can make the bathroom sink much more accessible. If possible, angling the sink forward by a few degrees can also be a big help.
Customized toilets, tubs, and bathroom sinks are more difficult to install than their standard counterparts, and they may require special tools. Contact a local plumber, like Plumb Pros Plumbing Heating & Drains, to find the best deals on fixtures and get an estimate on the cost of remodeling a senior's bathroom.