Getting older is a fact of life. When you think about it, it’s actually kind of a blessing given the alternative. Getting older does not have to mean that you have to give up your freedom and independence, or the house you’ve spent years calling home.
Introduction to Aging in Place Design
Aging in place is a design approach that focuses on making it possible for us to live in our homes, independently for a longer period of time. It considers the fact that some some everyday tasks become more difficult as we get older. It’s no fun to think about, but things like vision, muscle strength, and mobility all start to decline a bit as we age. Aging in place design is a sub set of Universal Design that aims to make changes in the home that can make living at home safer and more comfortable.
For example, curling your fingers around a bathroom faucet to turn the hot water on and off can be challenging. That is why single lever faucets are the perfect solution! You can turn the water on and off with a fist or a wrist., and the bathroom is a very important place to make these changes.
Secret Number One: Lighting Design
Getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night not only interrupts a good night of sleep, it can be a downright dangerous journey. Tripping over the dog or a shoe could turn things ugly in an instant. The simple design change of placing a light switch conveniently near the bed can be real life saver. Making that switch a dimmer will make sure you’re not blasted with bright lights in the middle of the night as well. With advances in lighting automation making them much more affordable, remote controlled lighting control is an option for projects of almost any budget as well. Lighting and lighting control is critical to aging in place design throughout the home and will have a big impact on safety and convenience. And the best part, no more cursing at the poor dog!
To learn more about lighting and its different uses watch our video here: Lighting Design: What You Need to Know to Avoid Mistakes.
Secret Number Two: Don’t Slip Up
More falls happen in the bathroom than in any other place in the home. With all of the soap and water splashing around it’s pretty easy to figure out why this is the case. One simple way to address this in your bathroom design is to use small tiles on the shower floor. Considering the Coefficient of Friction (COF) of all of the tile in your bathroom design is important, but within the shower it’s critical. (For more information about Coefficient of Friction and what it means to tile, see our blog here about link to the right blog) The smaller tiles provide more grip for wet feet because of all the additional grout joints. They also conform better to the slope of the shower floor and provide visual texture to the space. It’s usually recommended to use three inch by three inch tiles or smaller for optimal grip. Combine this with a slip-resistant tile and you’ll have yourself a safe and beautiful shower where you can relax.
To learn more about tile materials and their pros and cons watch our video here: The Ultimate Guide to Tile Material Types. If you’re interested in making your showering experience even more luxurious check out our blog: 4 Spoil Me Options That Are a Great Addition to an Accessible Bathroom.
Secret Number Three: Flexible Shower Options
At the end of a long day, or at the beginning of one, a nice long shower might be just the thing to recharge your batteries. Two shower design elements that will make this safer and more comfortable area bench seat and an adjustable handheld shower head. The bench seat provides assistance with everything from having a place to put your foot while washing or shaving to having a place to sit down if you need to relax or have trouble standing too long. An adjustable hand-held shower head makes it possible to shower standing up or sitting down, and can accommodate users of different heights. Add in the fact that a hand held shower head makes cleaning the shower safer and easier, and you’ll quickly see how they are a crucial element in any aging in place bathroom design.
Safer and Beautiful
The great thing about the bathroom design options above is that they make your bathroom safer while not sacrificing beauty. These options combined with an overall attention to Universal Design make it possible to create a home that is safe and convenient to use for everyone.
Smart People Make Smart Choices
Our goal with these pieces is to help you get the information you need to make educated choices for your home and family. If you’ve found this helpful, or have questions or requests for other topics, please leave them below, and we’ll make sure you get the answers you need.
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