Growing older is a tricky thing, and it has an unfortunate way of sneaking up on us. When it comes to making your home more accessible, many people put this off until it’s really obviously necessary — which, unfortunately, often means after an accident or injury has occurred. It’s best to be proactive and make your home accessible earlier and prevent injuries before they happen.
If you’re not quite ready to deck out your whole house in handrails and slip guards, outfitting your bathroom can be a good first step. After all, many of those “wake up call” accidents occur in the bathroom where wet floors and hard surfaces can be an especially risky combination. Here, AIPatHome.com offers a list of some of the simplest steps you can take to make your bathroom safer and more accessible:
Invest in Smart Tech
Let’s imagine a scenario: You’re relaxing in a hot bath, the lights low, gentle music playing, and the warm, scented steam swirling around you. Just when your muscles have finally released tension, you hear your pet knock something down in the other room. Rushing, you get out of the tub. But since the lights are low, you fail to notice the hairbrush that’s fallen on the floor.
Let’s say, for the sake of preserving that wonderful imagined bath, you manage not to slip on it, but it does give you a scare. Smart lights would be a great way to avoid this kind of situation since you can use a voice command or your smart hub to brighten the lights quickly and hands-free before you exit the bath. There are all kinds of smart devices that can make your life easier and safer.
An attractive way to incorporate smart lighting into your bathroom is through LED lighting fixtures. Adding ceiling fixtures, wall units, and/or floor lamps with smart LED bulbs is a great way to maximize your bathroom’s safety and add style at the same time.
Install a Sleek Shower Seat
When you hear the term ‘shower seat,’ it’s easy to picture a huge, clunky device made of grey plastic and metal. However, there are some shockingly fashionable and aesthetically pleasing ways to make sitting in the shower possible. For example, check out some of these designs for a look at how you can easily incorporate a bench into a walk-in shower without sacrificing the overall look of the bathroom.
It’s always worthwhile to pair a shower seat with an extendable showerhead that’s long enough to reach the seat so you can actually use it to shower. An extendable showerhead can also empower you to clean hard-to-reach places and help you avoid getting into odd or risky positions during your shower.
Update Your Vanity and Cabinets
Traditional vanities with cabinets underneath them make it difficult for wheelchair users to use the sink. Wall hung vanities are a great solution, since they offer plenty of room for wheelchair users to pull up directly beneath them. To add storage, hang wall cabinets in a corner of the bathroom. This way, those who use wheelchairs or other assistive devices, like walkers, will be able to move more easily through the space.
Use Grab Bars
Finally, installing a few strategically placed grab bars in your bathroom is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make the space safer. A grab bar on the wall beside the entrance to your tub can give you invaluable balance when navigating in and out, making slick floors far less risky to navigate. A bar inside the shower space can, again, help make reaching difficult places easier and safer to do without you having to contort into an unsafe position.
The great thing about grab bars is they’re relatively inexpensive and super easy to install, so you can start with just a couple and add more later on if needed. They’re a great way to expand accessibility without too much trouble whenever you just want to feel a little bit more secure in your space.
It’s normal to feel a little resistant to setting up these types of features, but remember: These precautions will give you more independence and allow you to age in place with confidence. Plus, depending on what type of accessibility modifications you make, your home could see a value increase. There’s no shame in getting older, or in needing a little assistance when you do. Give yourself the tools you need to enjoy your golden years, safe and healthy.