As we get older, our mobility, balance and ease of movement can deteriorate. Simple tasks like going to the bathroom can seem a little more difficult than they used to be. With some simple and easy adjustments, such a task need not be so difficult or challenging for elderly people. The following are some top tips for choosing a toilet and accessories for the elderly.
1. Raised Toilets
When adapting your bathroom for the elderly , if you have the budget or means to choose a complete toilet system, try to choose an elevated toilet. A toilet of about 17 or 18 inches in height better suits the needs of the elderly. If you do not have the means to do so, opt for an elevated toilet seat or a spacer to raise the height of your toilet. Such accessories can raise the height of your toilet by 3 to 4 inches, making it more accessible and easier to use for elderly people with decreased mobility.
2. Back Rest
A cushioned backrest attached to the cistern of the toilet can help a person to comfortably stay sitting upright on the toilet. If a person’s balance is off or they have back problems, such an accessory can provide additional comfort and assurance when using the toilet.
Adapting the bathroom of a house to suit the needs of a disabled person is not as difficult of a task as you may think. The bathroom should first and foremost be located on the ground floor of the house, if possible, to allow for easy accessibility. If this is not the case, you may need to consider adding a stair lift to your home. Any passageways or doorways in the home, not just in the bathroom, will need to be widened to allow a wheelchair to easily move around or to accommodate other walking aids. The recommended width of a doorway is about 36 inches wide. One should consider that there is appropriate space between the amenities in the bathroom to allow the user to easily move about within the room.
Within the bathroom itself, the toilet may need to be raised to allow someone to easily slide from a wheelchair onto the toilet seat. Plastic, elevated toilet seats are available at a very low price and fit the purpose intended perfectly. Alternatively, you may choose to just buy a taller toilet, but of course, this is a far more expensive option. It may be also wise to install a backrest against the toilet cistern. In the disabled bathroom it is recommended that you install hand rails at either side of the toilet which will provide support and a stable position for the user if needed.
Safety is the most important factor to keep in mind when creating a bathroom that is suitable for use by a person with disabilities. Designing a bathroom that is safe for the disabled to use independently will help to eliminate any concerns or worries that they may have had when having to use the bathroom.
There are two things that you need to consider before setting out on your mission:
- Firstly, you must think about the ways in which you can make the bathroom safe for use for someone with mobility problems.
- Secondly, you want to make the bathroom as user-friendly as possible. The environment you create should exude comfort and security to those with disabilities.
Here are a number of factors you should keep in mind when designing a disabled bathroom that is geared towards creating such an environment:
Yes, you most likely want to make the bathroom as appealing to the eye as possible, but beauty should not be your number one concern. As with every other aspect of design, safety is the key factor to consider when installing the right flooring for a bathroom that is suitable for those with disabilities. You should choose a flooring option that is not conducive to slippage, and the surface of it should be both smooth and level. A mosaic tile or a vinyl tile are the two best options available as they provide a level and smooth non-slip floor covering.
In order to make your home wheelchair friendly, there are a couple of steps to take. Some may appear more obvious than others. It is best to ask the advice of a wheelchair user if at all possible, as sometimes you can forget an amendment which could make a huge difference. In most countries, there are government grants and financial aids available for those who wish to make such amendments to their home. Some of the key things to keep in mind when renovating your home for this purpose are:
Sinks, tables, beds, televisions, toilets and mirrors should all be positioned at an appropriate height for a wheelchair user. These are amenities which will be used on a daily basis and so need to be fit for use for someone of wheelchair height. Light switches may need to be changed to cord operated lights. It is important that the path of a wheelchair user can be easily luminated. These height adjustments will allow the person to move more freely as they will not need help to be lifted to use these everyday household facilities.
In order to facilitate ease of mobility with wheelchair movement, some minor adjustments need to be made. Door widths will need to be widened to allow a person to easily manoeuvre a wheelchair in and out of any room in the house. If there are steps leading to any part of your home, you may need to consider installing ramps. If it is a two storey house with little room available downstairs, you may need to consider the possibility of installing a stair lift.
When replacing your standard bath tub with a walk in tub, there are some important things that you need to consider. If you are going to invest in such a tub, it is important that you choose the right model to suit your specific needs. You also want to make sure that it will be built to last and therefore provide value for money. When carrying out a bathroom renovation and looking for your walk in bath tub the below outlines some important points to consider:
The size of your bathroom
You need to consider the size of your bathroom. You may get your desired bath tub to fit however it could leave little room to get in and out of it. You must size up an appropriate amount of space outside of the tub. This will then enable you to decipher what size of a bath you can accurately fit. There are a wide range of different models to fit different size bathrooms.
Choose your materials wisely
Fiberglass is the most common material as it is the least expensive. Having said this, it can get roughed up very easily.
Whether you are designing a bathroom for your home or business to cater for the needs of the disabled or elderly you must take careful consideration in to the changes that must be made. The idea is to ensure that all elements of the bathroom are as user friendly as possible. It is also important to still ensure the bathroom looks “homely” and avoids the “hospital look”. If you plan on designing the bathroom yourself, here are some tips to help you to achieve the most effective design possible:
1. Widen the Doorways
The doorway should be wide enough to allow for a zimmer frame or wheelchair to fit in and out with little difficulty. Try to ensure that there isn’t a tight squeeze getting in and around the door to close it. Ensure the handle of the door is at a reachable level. If the person would like the facility for the door to lock, make sure it can be unlocked from the outside – in case of emergencies.
2. Shower Requirements
If you choose to install a shower, ensure that there is a hand rail running around the shower and a comfortable seat for the user. There should be waist level doors which open wide to allow the user to be easily wheeled into the shower and/or helped onto the shower seat. Make sure that there isn’t any high kerb or step entry to the shower. Don’t forget a shower curtain too.
When home dwellers build, buy or rent homes, the last thing on anyone’s mind is that an essential room like the bathroom will need any modification apart from changing the colour scheme, or updating the sanitary ware.
However when a family member becomes elderly or disabled, the whole scenario in relation to mobility, ease of access and independent use of the bathroom becomes an imperative issue. Suddenly, the home owner has to take on board how best to renovate the bathroom to suit the individual’s needs as their existing bathroom is now full of hidden hazards for the person with a disability or elderly.
The door glass or wood, door handle, the light switch, the step up or down into the bathroom, the width of the door frame, the flooring, the height of the toilet, even the toilet paper roll, wash-hand basin, bidet, bath and in or out of a shower all becomes potential obstacles for people with varying forms of disability and ageing.