Built in shower bench, grab bar, shower niche

ADA, Universal Design and Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) are all terms and designations describing design for accessibility for all. If you still think designing a bathroom for accessibility means a hospital-like bathroom, be ready for a surprise!

The advantage of so many baby boomers reaching retirement age is that designers and manufacturers are going out of their way to provide stylish fixtures and room layouts that work for everyone from a toddler to a wheelchair-bound person. Even those with reduced vision can benefit from modern materials and fixtures.

Recall that accidents can occur to anyone, especially in a room that’s often wet and filled with hard surfaces, such a toilet fixtures and tiled floors.

Here are five suggestions for including safety features in your bathroom when you next upgrade or remodel.

  1. Replace the toilet with a taller, “comfort height” toilet. These make sitting down and getting back up easier. If children live in or visit, place a step stool for the kids.
  2. Replace the tub in the master bath with a low-threshold or no-threshold shower. Have a bench built in, and make the shower as large as you can, to accommodate wheelchairs. If you never need it for a wheelchair, you can just enjoy the luxurious feel of a large shower.
  3. Grab bars! These are a great idea no matter what the age or abilities of the residents are. Anyone can slip. They come in all sorts of colors, styles and shapes. Especially consider one or two in the shower, and one by the toilet, these are the most helpful locations.
  4. Replace the bathroom floor with a good quality tile that has some texture for the better security when wet.
  5. Widen the door; whether you’re carrying a baby with you into the bathroom or navigating through the doorway using a walker, you’ll have an easier time if the entrance measures at least 34 inches, which is wider than standard bathroom doors.


low-threshold shower pan