Bathrooms are the most hazardous room in the house! Small spaces, wet floors and hard surfaces can make it dangerous for those with balance problems, low vision and just inaccessible to wheelchairs.
Whatcom County attracts lots of retired persons due to our mild climate and wonderful scenery. Aging in place details make sense for many such homeowners, as they can be reassured that they can remain in their homes for many years to come.
Some of the home design options that contribute to continued independence are:
1. Wider doorways (these can accommodate wheelchairs)
2. Roll-in showers are accessible for wheelchairs. Built in seats and hand held showerheads, along with strategically placed grab bars are excellent additions.
3. Half-height doors for the shower give a caregiver the ability to assist the user in showering while keeping the water in the shower and keeping the caregiver dry.
4. Grab bars are useful installations in more than just the shower; near the toilet for steadying the user, and at any location along the bathroom wall where a person may need to steady themselves.
5. About those shower seats; showers don’t all come with seats, so selecting a molded shower with a seat, or having a seat built in a tiled shower are excellent options, as well as fold down seats for smaller showers.
6. Selecting floor materials that are less slippery (and less hard) when wet will provide another level of safety.
The Bellingham Herald has a excellent article reviewing Aging-in-Place design: