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The top 9 bathroom adaptations for the elderly

Are you looking for ways to update your bathroom with useful adaptations for the elderly? A bathroom for elderly people needs to be carefully planned to ensure it is safe.

There are many reasons why you might need to re-evaluate your bathroom and its accessibility. Perhaps you’re suffering from mobility issues or you’ve sustained an injury. Or you might just want to choose a design that’s easier to maintain and keep clean.

Did you know? In the UK, around one-third of those 65 and over, and half of those aged 80 or over fall at least once a year. In 2017-2018, the NHS reported there were more than 220,000 fall-related incidents in the over 65 age group annually.

Safety is a major focus for people who are looking to adapt their bathrooms. By modifying your bathroom, you can make it a place that gives you peace of mind to carry on with your day normally.

And even if you need to make bathroom adaptations due to a physical disability or mobility problem, there is no reason why you can’t have a beautiful, well-designed bathroom.

1. How can a bathroom be set up for the elderly?
2. What is better for seniors: a tub or a shower?
3. Larger bathroom adaptations
4. Smaller bathroom adaptions

How can a bathroom be set up for the elderly?

Many of us feel like we are losing our independence as we get older. When our mobility is affected by health issues and ageing, it can become increasingly difficult to do the things we need to do. Most of us take having privacy in the bathroom for granted.

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But by making adaptations to your bathroom, you can continue doing all of your everyday essential tasks independently - from going to the toilet to washing in the bath or shower.

As a wet area in the home, bathrooms are one of the most common places to have a fall or slip incident. Many people choose to adapt their bathrooms as they get older to help lower the risk of slipping or falling, as well as to maintain their independence.

Did you know? The average person spends more than a whole year of their life in the bathroom! One poll found that men spend around 373 days of their lives in the bathroom, compared with 456 days for women. This breaks down to 20 to 30 minutes spent in the bathroom every day. And when you’re spending so much time in the bathroom, there is all the more reason to make sure it’s a safe and comfortable place to be.

Depending on your circumstances, making changes to your bathroom can be either a simple task or a complex renovation project. When planning the changes, it is important to consider your needs, budget and bathroom size.

If your budget allows, you might choose to completely reconfigure the whole space. Otherwise, you might consider adding cost-effective safety measures such as grab rails, fold-down seats and anti-slip floor tiles.

What is better for seniors: a tub or shower?

With a wide range of accessible walk-in baths and walk-in showers, the answer to this question really comes down to personal preference, space and budget.

Elderly people may struggle to use traditional baths and showers, especially if they have a disability or mobility problem. While baths can be difficult to get in and out of, using a shower can be a cause of slips, trips and falls in the bathroom.

Fortunately, there are many different options to help make your tub or shower safer for elderly people. For example, you might consider adding plastic bathroom safety rails. This is a simple fix that can make a big difference to overall bathroom safety.

For people with more complex mobility problems, a bath lift or hoist is a good option. If you have a small bathroom, a wet room might be a sensible choice, although they can be more expensive since it requires a larger restructuring.

If you want to continue enjoying luxurious hot baths for many years to come, you can easily achieve this by installing a walk-in bath, or if you prefer an energising shower, installing a walk-in shower will meet your needs.

Want to enjoy the best of both worlds? Choose to install a walk-in shower or bath. Whichever option you choose, reconfiguring your bathroom for elderly people is a great way to maintain your personal independence.

Did you know? You may be eligible to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant to help pay for bathroom adaptations such as installing a wet room.

(We do not offer grants or help with the process)

Larger bathroom adaptations

  1. Walk-in bath

Walk-in baths are baths that make it easier to enter the bath by removing the need to step down into them or over a ledge. They look different to a standard bath and the sizing differs too. They often feature higher sides but the door makes them easy to get in and out.

Walk-in baths are great for the elderly and those living with a disability. Due to their design, the features make for a safer and therefore more relaxing environment. Features that walk-in baths include are grab bars, anti-slip floors, low entry access doors, temperature control systems and integrated seating.

How much do walk-in baths cost?

The cost of a walk-in bath differs depending on which model you choose as well as the multiple options and accessories that may be available for it. A few things that are taken into account when pricing a walk-in bath are:

  • The size and space of the bathroom that the walk-in bathtub is being added to
  • The walk-in bath you decide upon
  • Any luxury features that you can add to your bath

Why should I choose a walk-in bath?

If accessibility is an issue you are facing with your current bath, then a walk-in bath could be helpful. Providing improved access that reduces the risk of falls as well as additional safety features, it can leave your bathing experience more relaxed. There are also luxury additions that can be added to your bath including a colour therapy system, spa massage, heated seat or resonant sound therapy.

  1. Walk-in shower

Walk-in showers are a great alternative to shower-over-baths, especially for elderly people or those with mobility issues. Stepping over the bath’s edge can be difficult for those with mobility issues, which is why having a shower you can step directly into increases accessibility.

The safety features of a walk-in shower make a safer option overall that reduces the risk of slips and falls, ultimately giving you a sense of comfort while showering.

Features included with a walk-in shower such as slip-resistant flooring, shower seats, thermostat control and ultra-low access floors make them a popular choice for those who prefer a shower rather than a bath.

Walk-in showers are usually designed specifically for your bathroom which means you can make the most of your space and can improve the overall layout of your bathroom.

How much does a walk-in shower cost?

Like a walk-in bath, there are a number of considerations that can affect the final cost of implementing a walk-in shower in your bathroom. A main areas to focus on that will affect price include:

  • The product that you choose
  • The dimensions of your bathroom
  • The luxury features that you can be added to your walk-in shower
  • Your wall and floor coverings
  • The choice of bathroom furniture

Why should I choose a walk-in shower?

Not everyone loves to take a long soak in the tub, which is why a walk-in shower is a fantastic alternative. With seats included in a walk-in shower, it means that if you do need a bit of extra support, it’s right there with you.

How do you know if a walk-in shower is right for you? If you experience the following, it might just be the best choice for you.

  • You find getting into and out of your shower difficult
  • You’d like safety features such as ultra-low access, thermostatic control and comfortable shower seats or benches
  • You want a shower that fits bespoke to your bathroom
  • You want to choose from a wide range of different shower styles
  1. Wet rooms

Wet rooms are a stylish and practical modern-day way of bathing. Some features of a regular shower are less suited for bathing by elderly persons or those with limited mobility.

Needing to sit while showering is a common problem that arises for the elderly when showering, and not all showers can fit a seat. Many also require a small step over the shower tray to get into the shower. Wet rooms resolve these issues.

Should I choose a wet room or a shower?

If you’re wondering whether a walk-in shower or wet room might be better suited for your situation, consider a few key things before making your decision.

    • Do you require mobility aid access such as a wheelchair?
    • Do you enjoy showering but have an issue with entering or exiting it?
    • Would you like extra support aids such as grab bars, optional seat, splashguard option or anti-slip trays?
    • Would you like an easy-to-use thermostat control

Smaller bathroom adaptions

If you’re looking for a smaller adjustment for your bathroom, there are a variety of options to choose from depending on your needs. If you are just looking for some simple changes to make without requiring a bathroom renovation or major installations, these items could be beneficial.

Elderly people can feel greater security by including these adjustments in their bathroom at home.

  1. Grab rails

Grab rails can help you remain steady on your feet and are an easy addition to your bathroom that is quick and easy to install. Textured models offer extra grip when used in the bathroom where they may get wet.

Grab rails are commonly used on the walls of bathrooms, in the shower and in bathtubs. Grab rails are also available as toilet surrounds. Instead of a single wall-mounted rail the frame surrounds the entire toilet and provides sturdy support to help people as they sit and stand.

  1. Fold down seats

Fold-down seats can make showering easier for those who can’t stand for long periods. They are affixed to the shower wall and can easily be folded down when in use and folded back against the wall when not required. They are a versatile addition to your shower and mean that the space works for everyone in your household.

  1. Low-level shower trays

Low-level shower trays remove the issue of needing to step over a small rise to get into the shower. For those with mobility issues who can still manage a small step, they are a highly useful addition to increase accessibility to the shower.

While they don’t sit flush with the floor they significantly reduce the height that a person is required to raise their foot and leg to enter the shower. They reduce the risk of slips and falls and only require a small alteration to your shower if you have a free-standing shower.

  1. Non-slip flooring

Non-slip flooring is a great way to reduce the risk of slips and falls in the bathroom. As a wet area with tiled floors, this can be one of the biggest slip hazards in the home.

From specially designed non-slip flooring to mats that can be used inside and outside the shower to provide a gripped surface, they are a valuable adaptation for the elderly in the bathroom.

  1. A Bathing Cushion

An absolute must when it comes to regaining independence. Bathing cushions are inflatable or foam-based and are usually operated by remote or hand pump. This handy pillow helps assist you lower yourself into the water and rise back up again with ease and comfort. Thus providing support and stability to your experience, particularly when it comes to getting in and out.
  1. Baths with lift

If you aren’t able to choose a walk-in bath, but still want to luxuriate in a hot tub for a soak, then a bath lift might be a suitable alternative. Bath lifts are power-operated devices that help lift and lower you into and out of the bath.

They often have a handheld remote that lets the user control the lift and are a great option if a bathroom renovation isn’t feasible. If you are interested in walk-in bath options that include a lift as well, our Empower, Momentum and Paradise ranges all offer this feature.

Making changes to your bathroom for the elderly can be simple and quick or involve more complex renovations depending on which options are most suitable for your circumstances. At Premier Care in Bathing, we’re dedicated to helping people relax and enjoy their bathing experience, whatever that looks like. Ensuring everyone can access safe, enjoyable bathing we make your bathroom more comfortable and accessible.

Contact us today for a free consultation, or download our comprehensive brochure for more information.