How to make your bathroom elderly-accessible

It goes without saying that you use your bathroom every day. However, when you start to get older and your mobility suffers as a result, this can have a knock-on effect with regards to difficulties you might experience when using this particular part of the house.

If you have parents - or grandparents - who are beginning to encounter such problems, then it could be a sign for you to make certain changes to their bathroom to make their lives just that little bit easier.

As well as accessibility, there is also a safety element that makes such improvements to the bathroom a necessity when a person reaches a certain point in their life, as a trip or slip can have significant consequences, especially for those living on their own.

From simple additions to full-on refurbishments, there is plenty you can do to make this space a more accessible room for people who have difficulty with their movement. Here are some tips to get you started.

Grab bars

Grab bars are one of the easiest features you can incorporate into almost any bathroom, offering extra support for those who may struggle to get out of the bath or off the toilet.

The great thing about these is that they are simple to install and can make a real difference, without requiring a complete rethink of the layout of the room.

What's more, you can even find grab bars that are seamlessly disguised as other features you would normally find in a bathroom anyway, with soap dishes, shampoo racks and toilet roll holders all being incorporated into modern designs.

If you want something a bit different, other offerings on the market include glow-in-the-dark grab bars and products that come in funky colours or contain embedded stones. As more people come to rely on these, the sector is naturally expanding, encouraging manufacturers to develop a wider range of items as a result.

New technology

Recent advancements in digital technology make it possible for users of any age to start their bath or shower running without even leaving their bed.

This can be accomplished through Bluetooth wireless connectivity and can be well worth the investment if it makes life easier for those who may otherwise struggle to carry out these tasks manually.

Some innovations even allow for the programming of pre-set temperatures, ensuring there is a minimal risk of your elderly relative burning themselves or experiencing a shower that is too cold for them.

One of the leaders in this field is the manufacturer Crosswater, which recently released a new range of digital bathroom technologies.

Chairman David Hance said: "We are constantly working on new technology-led solutions to make bathrooms easier and more convenient to use. These products have an important part to play in future-proofing homes too, allowing elderly and less able people to use baths and showers easily and safely."

Walk-in showers

If getting in and out of the bath is proving to be too much completely, then replacing it with a walk-in shower could be the most viable option. 

This way, the person using it doesn't have to worry about lifting themselves in or out of the tub, meaning slips are much less likely to occur.

While this is obviously a much bigger - and potentially more costly - job than the previous two suggestions, it is also going to be the most effective in many cases.

At the Shower Doctor, we supply all the parts you'll need to do this yourself - however, we would recommend leaving this task to a professional plumber if you feel even remotely uncomfortable at the prospect of installation.

Ultimately, the best approach is to talk to the person who uses the bathroom in question regularly. Find out what their problems are or what their issues are likely to be and how they feel they would benefit from the above options before deciding what action to take.

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