The bathroom is one of those places in your home where some things can truly be done in private. As retired life looms, taking care of oneself assumes a higher premium, and part of that endeavour would be to remodel the bathroom to be more senior-friendly.
There’s ample background to preparing your bathroom for more seniors’ usage.
The AIHW reported that 51 per cent of the falls that resulted in hospital confinement for 2019 and 2020 were from same-level slips such as wet flooring. A Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit report from 2006 detailed that amongst the estimated 3,700 bathroom injuries recorded in the state per year, 79 per cent were attributed to elderly people falling at some point inside the room. They were later diagnosed with head and limb injuries, some requiring hospital admission.
You must have a closer look of your home’s bathroom with a NDIS-approved home remodelling contractor and an occupational therapist to firmly establish the features you would need for the project. The info will help determine the floorplan and the quote, and by result, the amount you will take out in the reverse mortgage. If you have a loved one with a disability, their input will be vital as well, especially if they use mobility devices like scooters or wheelchairs.
Remodelled bathroom should minimise danger
As slip and falls are very dangerous in the bathroom, considerable effort must be made to ensure the remodelled bathroom will minimise the danger. For starters, invest in matte finish stone non-slip tiles as they easily absorb water compared to glossy or polished flooring, reducing the danger of a slip and fall. You can add up the protection outside the bath area with a non-slip floor mat or strips. Visual markers like red and blue for hot and cold water may also aid people with vision problems. An emergency phone is also advisable.
If your fixtures are mostly knob-based, you must replace them with lever-type fixtures, as seniors may have problems turning the water on or off and the knob slips their grip. Increasing the size of the light switches is advisable.
The bathroom must be easy to maintain and all areas are reachable for cleaning activities, as even the smallest nooks, if unattended, can be centres of mould and mildew that will result in breathing problems. A properly-sized ventilation fan and windows will be effective in taking out the moisture.
A toilet most workable for the elderly has important considerations to account for. Upgrade the toilet set to a bidet with smart controls. A noted home remodeler from Sydney’s Bondi area also hinted that raising a toilet pan’s height from 420 and 460 millimetres to between 500-550mm is high enough for seniors who may have problems sitting down and getting back up. Factor in grab bars on either side to support their movement.
Sink and storage
The sink and countertop must be devoid of sharp edges and corners to avoid blunt-force impact. Any drawers or cabinets should also be reconfigured for easy reach and have large handles instead of knobs or finger pullers. These will aid seniors with grip problems or flexibility issues in crouching down.
Fixing up the bath area will be a major part of a senior’s hygiene needs. If the place is on showers, consider adding a seat and safety rail to aid seniors who might have balance problems, along with easy-to-reach recesses for bath essentials. A hand-held shower head in addition to the regular shower head is workable, as are anti-scalding valves for hot water situations. What if your budget allows for a tub? Consider that in the floorplan as a walk-in unit.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
When planned and built well, a seniors-friendly bathroom remodelling provides additional peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
You can also get started by using our tool below to assess your available equity.