As we transition through life to our senior years, safety in the home becomes a priority for many older adults. This is especially true of the bathroom because it is considered the most dangerous room in the house. There are slippery surfaces that one might fall on and sharp corners where a person can hit their head. However, by integrating some practical safety renovations, it can be the one room where you start your day with confidence. With the right bathroom safety renovations and a little help from tax incentives, you can turn the most dangerous room in the house to one of the safest.
According to Ontario.ca, the Ontario Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit is a permanent, refundable personal income tax credit that is worth up to $1,500 each year. It is calculated as 15 percent of up to $10,000 in eligible home modifications that help seniors be more functional in their home. To quality, you need to be 65 years old or older by the end of the year for which you are claiming the credit or living with a family member who is a senior. Your income doesn’t matter; seniors and their family member at all income levels are eligible. more info
With that in mind, here are some bathroom modifications that can outfit your bathroom to become a safer, secure and more pleasurable private environment.
If possible, one fully remodeled bathroom on the main floor is the ideal. Keep in mind that space is an important factor for moving around if there are assisted devices like canes, walkers or wheelchairs. It allows individuals the freedom and safety to move easily around the toilet, bathtub, shower stall, cabinets and closets. If a first floor bathroom is not an option and mobility is an issue, than consider installing a chair lift to get to the second floor.
Walk-in tubs and showers are one the best safety features for seniors. Most of them include grip bars, seating and non-slip floors. They are usually lower to the ground for ease of entering or exiting with little effort. One type of shower to consider is the roll-in shower that has a stall with a curb-less entrance. The opening is 36 inches wide and wheelchair accessible. A handheld showerhead with adjustable settings is suitable because it can be moved around easily, especially if you’re seated, and the temperature controls are at your fingertips. When considering a walk-in tub, invest in one with whirlpool jets to receive the benefits of relieving tender muscles and relaxation.
Low toilet seats can be difficult for seniors; however, if you have a toilet seat at the proper height, it can make a big difference in the comfort and safety in your bathroom. By replacing the existing toilet with a senior-friendly toilet, (a chair-height toilet) it will give you the freedom to raise and lower your body weight with minimal effort. If your personal situation is structurally more complex, you can consider installing a special lift chair that is made to mechanically lift and lower your body from the toilet.
Nothing is more dangerous for seniors than a wet, slippery floor in the bathroom. It can result in fatal injuries and it should be replaced or modified for injury prevention. There are several options to consider for making the bathroom floor a safer feature. Most vinyl flooring can provide excellent traction for a little bit of extra safety. Cork or Bamboo is popular because they’re attractive, comfortable and depending on the finish, they can be non-slip and quite safe. Carpeting is always a good option because it can be safe, warm and soft on bare feet. Large area rugs with non-skid backings also work well because they offer you security at an affordable price.
Proper lighting in the bathroom is essential since seniors typically have some sort of impaired vision. Replace old, outdated or dimly lit fixtures with up-to-date lights to eliminate shadows and dark spaces. A brightly lit vanity in the bathroom will help to prevent bumps and bruises and make the bathroom safer. Additionally, installing a light in the shower or bathtub stall will help a senior navigate around the space with more confidence.
Extra Safety Features:
- Install grabs bars throughout the bathroom where needed most.
- Install adjustable height counter tops with rounded edges.
- Make provisions for roll-under access in front of the sink.
- Install tilting mirrors for ease of use in a sitting position.
- Lower the medicine cabinet for convenience and a handy reach.
Feel free to contact us to discuss your own bathroom safety renovations for seniors.