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How to Create a Functional Shower Design


No one likes to admit that a family member or other loved one may be facing a time of decreased mobility, but bathroom safety is a continuing concern for older people and their families. Designing a bath that is easily accessible doesn’t mean it also has to be devoid of style, and incorporating useful safety features can make ordinary daily activities less stressful for everyone. Use these helpful tips to create a safe bathing space that is also surprisingly welcoming and attractive.

Use Creative Essentials

Grab bars may be a necessary addition to the bath, but they don’t have to be ugly, industrial stainless steel. New handrails are available in a variety of styles and finishes that mimic the look of high-end towel bars but are sturdy enough to serve a more practical purpose. Textured rubber flooring is a solid surface that is water- and slip-resistant, available in a wide array of colors and patterns, and provides more cushioning than ceramic or vinyl tile. Hanging wall cabinets for storage of frequently used items can reduce the need for bending.

Add Plenty of Light

Clean, clear, crisp and vivid lighting is essential in any senior bathroom, especially for individuals who may be suffering from some level of visual impairment. LED light strips installed along baseboards can prevent unnecessary bumps and bruises, and there are even grab bars equipped with LED to serve a dual purpose. Consider installing additional lighting in the shower, either overhead or around the drain, and add motion-detecting nightlights to hallways to ease the path from bedroom to bath.

Bigger is Better

If you’re remodeling a bathroom for a senior citizen, remember this simple fact: Larger showers are not only easier to access; they also provide plenty of room to comfortably accommodate removable shower stools or benches. Wide, swinging doors are easier to enter and exit that narrow sliding ones. Place fixtures near the entrance so the user won’t get wet when starting the water. Use a single slope floor to provide an even surface and install a handheld shower wand to make bathing simple.

Consider a Wet Room

In warmer climates, you may not need a separate shower enclosure or tub at all. Instead, convert the entire room into a shower by transforming the floor into a shower pan. This design provides ample room for the user and an accompanying caregiver, and there’s no need to worry about entering or exiting a slippery shower or tub. Wall-mounted sinks and toilets are both stylish and streamlined, and using these fixtures makes it easier to install a fully water-resistant floor.

Put Safety First

If a bathtub is an absolute necessity, building a tub deck equipped with handrails and a series of steps can make it easier to enter and exit. If a shower curb must be installed, keep it as low as possible for safety and ease of access. Brightly colored tiles or waterproof lighting can highlight the curb and provide visual reminders for users. If your home is equipped with an emergency alert monitoring system, install pull chains or buttons around the room and in the shower. Position them near the floor in case of accidental slips and falls.

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