Even the most independent seniors can find the bathroom a difficult place to navigate. Slippery floors and showers can make balancing a challenge. Every year in the US millions of older residents visit the emergency room due to accidents sustained at home. In 2008 alone, 200,000 older adults died from fall-related injuries. And, the vast majority of those falls were sustained in the bathroom.
Mobile-Friendly Designs Don’t Have to Mean Hospital Vibes
Unfortunately, when most folks talk about “safe” bathrooms, they immediately jump to the old-school ADA designs. These designs are traditionally cold and sterile. Filled with monotones plastic and boring aluminum, they look more like a hospital than a home.
This doesn’t have to be the case. Your shower can be beautiful and safe! Simple changes and additions to your shower design can offer an immense amount of support without sacrificing the aesthetic appeal:
Textured Floor – Single surfaces are slippery, even when they’re not wet. Add water and you’re asking for trouble. Rather than one clean plane or even large tiles, consider using a more textured design. Small tiles offer multiple groves, providing additional traction and stability.
Bonus: Small tiles on the floor pair beautifully with large tiles on the wall. The varying textures create more depth. They also stimulate thought as your eyes move from one surface to another.
Shower Seat – Standing for extended periods of time can be difficult for many seniors. Adding a shower seat allows you to take a break while showering. It also introduces more depth to your design. By creating a surface at another height, your shower seat introduces another focal point for the eye.
Handheld Showerhead Mount – There are a variety of showerhead mounts to choose from. Handheld mounts offer the ultimate in mobility. The allow you to direct the spray directly where you want it. This is particularly helpful if you want to bathe while seated.
Bonus: Consider a two-showerhead design. This will allow you to benefit from the handheld mount will enjoying the luxuriousness of a wall-mounted showerhead.
Planning Doesn’t Mean Settling
Just because you’re planning for the days when you might need help doesn’t mean you’re settling. Creating a shower that lets you age gracefully means you’re giving yourself the tools to enjoy life to its fullest. If down the road, daily activities like bathing become difficult, they can hamper your everyday lifestyle.