A few replacements in the bathroom can make a big difference as you start to feel the natural aches and pains of aging.
- New toilets come in taller sizes than the one that came with your house. A standard toilet is about 14-1/2 inches from the ground, but you can get a newer one that’s between 16 and 18 inches, about the same height as a regular chair.
- Replace your shower pan, which probably requires you to step over a curb, with a “curbless” version. The new models sit on top of your tile floor and slant inward toward a drain in the center so water doesn’t get all over the bathroom floor. You can easily walk into it without stepping up, and you can even roll a wheelchair into it.
- Add a seat to your shower. You can have one built right in if you’re replacing your shower or updating it by covering the shower and walls with an acrylic mold.
- If you’re replacing your sink and vanity, consider putting in a taller ensemble so you don’t have to bend over so far when you brush your teeth and wash your face. A lower one is an option for someone in your home that may sit in a wheelchair. If a wheelchair user will wash up at that sink, don’t put the cabinet right under the sink. Leave open space there in case so he or she can roll right up to the sink.
- Add lighting. Put a light in the shower, over the mirror and in the ceiling.
- Give in to grab bars. Put one in the shower and another one next to the toilet. Don’t worry: The new ones don’t make your bathroom look like it belongs in a hospital. You can get them in attractive finishes that match your decor. When you install them, bolt them to backer board or at least use anchor screws specifically designed for grab bars. Without the reinforcement, you can pull the bar right out of the wall if you grab onto it when you fall.