Bathroom Renovations to Age in Place Comfortably and Safely

Bathroom Renovations to Age in Place Comfortably and Safely

Your body (and your physical capabilities) change as you age, and if you plan to stay in your home for the long haul, your property will need to change, too. Fortunately, most of the bathroom renovations to age in place that you’ll want to make are fairly minor — and they shouldn’t be too costly or burdensome to make.

Are you looking to prep your home to age in place? Helping do so for an older loved one?

Here are 9 aging in place bathroom renovations that you’ll want on your radar

1. Add a shower seat.

Shower seats can be helpful in numerous ways. For one, they give you a spot to take a load off — something particularly important as you age and can no longer stand for long periods of time.

They also make it easier for wheelchair-bound residents to bathe and rinse off, and they can reduce your chances of slipping while standing, too. 

2. Install a tub door.

Similarly, you should also consider installing a tub door or some other sort of accessible type of bathtub when you’re making bathroom renovations to age in place.

These allow you to simply walk in, rather than climbing over a ledge or other obstacle that could cause injury. You can also consider adding grab bars around the tub just for added safety.

3. Add grab bars elsewhere.

I mentioned this slightly above, but grab bars can be hugely helpful — just about anywhere in the bathroom. You’ll definitely want them in the shower and around the toilet, but you could also consider adding some near sinks and doorways, in the bathtub, and in other areas of the room you use.

They make it easier to brace yourself and can be very helpful to residents with mobility issues.

4. Lower the bathroom sink and counter.

This one’s a bit of a bigger project, but it can be important if you or another resident is ever in a wheelchair. You’ll want to lower the faucet, sinks, cabinetry, and other areas so that they’re easily within reach from a sitting position.

Make sure you use a pro for this one, as it can be a pretty large undertaking if you’ve got a big space.

5. Make sure the floor is slip-resistant if you’re making bathroom renovations to age in place.

You’ll definitely want slip-resistant flooring as you age — especially if you’re in a walker. This can be done using slip-resistant rugs or mats, though these can move and also wear down over time.

Another option is to add a slip-resistant coating or install carpeting, cork, or rubber flooring.

6. Change out the showerhead.

The tub and shower definitely need to be made more accessible, but so does your showerhead. If you’re installing a shower seat, make sure the showerhead is reachable from the bench.

Consider also installing an adjustable, handheld-type showerhead that offers more flexibility — ideally, one mounted next to or right in front of the shower seat.

7. Add motion-sensor lighting.

This is important in any bathroom you might be using at nighttime when visibility is low. You’ll specifically want lights in toilet and sink areas, where you’re more likely to go.

Motion-sensor, plug-in nightlights can be fine if you want a low-cost option, or you could make the overhead lights and sconces motion-sensored, too. If you go the former route, make sure you have plenty of bulbs and batteries on hand.

8. Widen the doorways when making bathroom renovations to age in place.

This is another important one for residents in wheelchairs or walkers when you’re making bathroom renovations to age in place. Generally speaking, you’ll want your doorways to be at least 32 inches wide to let a wheelchair pass through comfortably.

Make sure you consider the door’s placement, too. Installing a pocket door may give you more width without actually having to redo your whole entryway. Swing-out doors tend to make up more space.

9. Install an intercom system.

If there will be multiple people aging in place, then consider adding an intercom system to the house. This will allow residents to communicate with each other from across the property, reducing the chance of injury and making it easier to notify the other in case something goes wrong.

Adding a few Echo Dots or other similar smart devices is also an option here. The “drop-in” feature can be particularly helpful as long as you have a few devices across the house.

Start early and don’t delay planning your age in place bathroom remodel

If you or someone you love is aging in place, you’ll want to prep the property early. Not only will this allow you to spread the work (and costs) out over time, but it will ensure you’re able to be as comprehensive as possible.

Do you need help paying for some of these aging in place renovations? Then a cash-out refinance may be able to help. Get in touch with a loan officer at Embrace Home Loans today to talk through your financial options.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.