Americans are living longer — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the average life expectancy was 78 as of 2009. Many older people want to stay in their homes as long as possible, but adjustments are often are needed to allow them to “age in place.” You can make some key changes in your bathroom to make sure it is safe and easily accessible as the years go on.
1 Remodel the bath/shower area with a walk-in shower or a tub with a seat; some models are accessible for wheelchairs or walkers. Choose a model with a nonskid surface on the floor and the seat. Include a fixed showerhead, plus a handheld shower with an adjustable height, recommends the National Aging in Place Council.
2 Install a senior-friendly toilet. Sometimes called chair-height toilets, these fixtures make it easier to get up and down.
3 Place grab bars in key locations. Install at least one handrail next to the toilet to provide additional leverage when pulling yourself back to a standing position. Include grab bars in the shower/tub area to provide safety while getting in and out inflatable abominable snowman.
4 Lower the bathroom sink to provide easier access. Include knee clearance under the sink for wheelchair users.
5 Enlarge all doors into the bathroom so a senior with a walker or wheelchair can pass through easily. Remove thresholds to eliminate tripping hazards.
eHow Contributor| updated October 05, 2011