Remodeling Your Bathroom ~ Aging in Place

Healthy, active couples are now considering renovations that will allow them to stay at home and remain independent for the long term. If you are in the market for a new bathroom, design it with an eye toward the future.  Whether you are nearing retirement, or may need to care for an aging parent in the future, there are many ways to design a bathroom that blend style and luxury with safety and comfort. Thanks to the large selection of products designed with style in mind, a bathroom can be remodeled to meet older people’s needs without looking like it belongs in a hospital setting.  Many of the bathroom fixtures that are designed to meet ADA criteria can also be beneficial to family members of all ages ~ young children who need help bathing, a teen rehabilitating from a sports injury, or anyone recovering from surgery. And, if you do decide to sell your home, you have greatly expanded your resale market.

Your bathroom remodel can be two-fold, incorporating an updated look with convenience and safety. A proper bathroom design paired with stylish looking products can help homeowners remain independent in the future as they age, while creating an environment of personal luxury that they will enjoy today.

Design Considerations

A design expert will create the bathroom you have dreamed of by finding creative ways to balance aesthetics and safety within your budget. Specific features need to be considered in developing the layout of your new bathroom to make it more easily accessible as you age. It should have an open floor plan that carefully considers positioning of products such as grab bars, within the bathroom.  The doors should swing out, and be a minimum of 36 inches wide; pocket doors are also an option. By planning ahead, structural changes can be made during the renovation which will give homeowners the option in the future of adding features that may be necessary.


A spacious walk-in shower, with a built in bench, body sprays and a hand held shower head, creates a luxurious spa-like experience while still being able to accommodate a wheelchair if necessary. An example of a product that bridges the gap between luxury and practicality is Kohler’s WaterHaven Shower Tower. Users of all ages will enjoy the multiple showerheads, and it can adjust low enough for a person in a wheelchair.  The dimensions of the shower must be at least 36 X36 inches, with a curb less than ½ inch.  Other important considerations: grab bars, lever type handles on the faucet and a non-skid surface.


A wall mounted sink provides space for a wheelchair or other mobility device such as a walker, and many colors and models, such as the popular vessel style, are available to fit your decor. Add accessible faucets, such as single-handle or low lever handles that are easy to operate. Homeowners also find that the touchless, sensor-operated type faucets are convenient and like the added benefit of water conservation.


A toilet with a seat that is the same height as a standard chair allows for maximum comfort and ease when standing up or sitting down. The top of the seat must be at least 17 inches and no more than 19 inches above the floor. Not only is this type of toilet ADA approved, and wheelchair compatible, it puts less strain on your legs, knees, and back. Elongated bowls are longer front to back by about 2-3 inches, which further increases comfort.

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