20 Aug Reducing the risk – bathroom design for seniors
It’s an unavoidable fact of life, we all age. As time goes on, some areas within the home can become increasingly difficult and dangerous. The bathroom is a potential danger zone.
Statistics show 55% of falls experienced by seniors, occur within the home (source). As bodies age, balance and eyesight deteriorate, residential interior design must bear the flexibility to change an meet new needs. It’s paramount interior design reflects the user. The bathroom, if not designed thoughtfully for an elderly resident, can be a potential disaster. Slippery, wet surfaces, poor lighting and awkward storage design can be issues for all of us at the best of times, but even more so for seniors.
If you’re considering a bathroom design suitable for the future, or if you currently feel you require a more accessible and safe bathroom interior, keep in mind you don’t need to compromise on style to make way for safety. Enjoy the best of both worlds with my advice for creating an age friendly bathroom interior, without aesthetic compromise.
1. Stay level
Level entry shower access is key to creating an age friendly interior. Sill-less aluminium framed shower screens, such as the Phoenix range from Pivotech, eliminate potential trip hazards upon entry and exist of the shower cavity. Where required, sill-less shower screens also allow for disabled shower access. Sill-less aluminium shower screens maximise safety, while maintaining a contemporary design aesthetic.
To further reduce tripping risks, slipping or falling, create a level shower base with a flush drain. Using flush grates and drains over traditional circular products provides the opportunity to eliminate uneven floors.
2. Inconspicuous non-slip
Tiles become slippery very easily. Non-slip treatments are available for tiles, however rubber and vinyl products will always be more effective. Gone are the days of thin sheet vinyl, prone to cracking and corner curls. Today luxury vinyl tiles come in a vast array of colours, patterns and photographic treatments, to resemble timber and stone. Vinyl tiles and planks are long lasting, they have exceptional slip ratings, are low maintenance, and cost effective. To achieve one of this years biggest bathroom trends, and minimise the risk of slips, my tip is to select a vinyl timber plank. Chic, and safe.
3. Intelligent lighting
As we age, our eye sight deteriorates. Lighting is crucial to ensuring the bathroom remains safe. Enhancing the level of light within a bathroom is an exciting design opportunity. Get creative and be practical at the same time. Recessed LED floor lights, wall washers, vanity lighting and backlit mirrors will ensure your bathroom is contemporary, dynamic, and most importantly – easy to navigate.
4. Suitable storage
Bending, stretching, twisting and manoeuvring your body into all sorts of positions to access poorly designed storage units within a bathroom, is far from ideal. Make use of bathroom walls and opt for wall mounted storage over vanity cupboards. A cupboard or shelf, 600mm – 900mm above floor level, will ensure minimal bending is required. If you’re feeling fancy, make a feature out of your wall storage, opt for exposed storage solutions and treat yourself to some unique jars, tubs and containers.