When you’re considering remodelling a new bathroom, it seems appropriate to concentrate on what your needs are right now. You may think that you want a nice deep bath, or glass dividers between the toilet and bathtub – sensible choices for any homeowner! However, here at Modern Homes we’d like to encourage you to look ahead.
What do we mean?
New research shows that the number of people who live to be over 85 is rising. It’s set to increase from 1.6 million to 3.4 million within the next 23 years. So if you’re ageing in years yourself or you think you’ll be selling your home then you need to design your bathrooms to accommodate this growing population.
I know what you’re thinking – how can I adapt my bathroom to suit these growing needs but still have it reflect what I want right now? And we can see why you’d think this way. In the past, accessible products were never exciting, and if you modelled your entire bathroom around them, it would look more like a local hospital than a boutique hotel.
Thankfully, over the past few years, things have changed dramatically in this sector. Companies that offer these accessible products have made them more aesthetically pleasing, yet also kept them functional and extremely useful. Now, you can shop for accessible products whilst still having a beautiful bathroom.
When looking at how to make these specific changes, we’ve looked at the following areas of improvement: the shower, the toilet and the overall design of the room. All of these little changes will make a great difference to those who have less mobility and are not able to walk or stand for long periods of time.
If you’re lucky enough to be starting from scratch, make sure you have or create a large doorway so you can accommodate wheelchair users. The same idea goes for the floor design: try not to squish everything together. It’s much easier for those in wheelchairs to get around if there’s a little space between items.
Here are just a few areas of designs you can include in your new bathrooms to make them chic yet also accessible to a large part of the population!
When people imagine a bathroom created to cater to physically disabled people, elderly people, or to someone with reduced mobility, they may think of those large metal bars seen in accessible public bathrooms. These are actually really helpful as they can help people regain their balance and hold on to something while using the toilet or the shower. These are also helpful for those with visual impairment as they can feel their way around the room with more ease.
Nowadays, these handrails come in a sleeker design, and they can also be incorporated within the vision of the whole bathroom. You can even find them in darker colours, not just silver or white. By installing them, you can provide support for safety for anyone that uses your facilities.
Low level or flush fitting shower trays
This design makes your shower tray reach the floor, removing the elevation that would be hard for someone who has difficulty walking up the step. It’s done so that your shower does not leak to the rest of the bathroom, which is a win-win situation! Plus, it makes your bathroom look rather fancy, which we know is also a goal when you’re thinking of remodeling parts of your house.
Walk through shower enclosures
The key to these showers is their accessibility, as it reduces the risk of someone with less mobility tripping when they enter the shower. The lack of door also makes it simple for a large population to use as no one has to balance themselves on their feet and use force to open the door. Adding these to your bathroom will also make your shower look larger and more spacious, and once again, like a boutique hotel.
Digitally operated showers
This is another handy invention for everyone in the house, not just the elderly or those with disabilities. These precise thermostatically controlled showers do not have fiddly levers, but rather, remote controlled buttons. You can place the screen at a convenient height for the user, and it will make controlling the shower temperature a lot easier. That’s what everyone needs – no fiddling around trying to balance the taps to get the temperature right!
When installing a sink, try not to add a cabinet at the bottom of it. This allows wheelchair users to feel comfortable when washing their hands as their wheelchairs can fit underneath. It’s just small details like this which can make a massive difference to people with reduced mobility. Keep the soap dispenser at the appropriate height so a wheelchair user can easily reach it.
Comfort height toilets
These are designed to be a little taller than the toilets you might have been used to previously. This means that they offer more support as it relieves the strain on the users’ knees and makes it much easier to get on and off. Fortunately for all of us, these are actually becoming a standard product in newly-designed bathrooms, and you may have come across them without even noticing. Installing them now means the future you will be so grateful!
Modern hydro baths
If a bath is on your wish list, make sure you pick one that has hydro massage, comfortable moulded head rests, and integral seats. Consider whether a bath with a door (and a seat) would be helpful to get inside without having to lift the legs too high. Sure, these are all amazing additions that would make your current bath even more relaxing, but it will also help out the elderly and those with lesser mobility. How could you say no to that?
At the end of the day, we should be focusing on making our bathrooms safe for young and old alike. We don’t want to alienate anyone with our designs; we actually want everyone to be able to use them regardless of their mobility!
All of these product ideas can be discussed with your home designer to ensure your new bathroom is future-proofed. Creating beautiful and accessible bathrooms should be on everyone’s to-do list, and it’s one of the many ways that we can make our homes inclusive for anyone who steps through the front door in the future, especially if that ‘someone’ is a dear member of your family.