Bathroom Remodel For Older Adults: 8 Essential Features and Considerations

Bathroom with features for older adults such as a shower seat.

Many seniors are choosing to age in place, expressing a desire for independence and familiarity. 

Implementing bathroom remodeling for older adults is a crucial step to ensure safety and comfort to navigate their daily routines with ease. Bathrooms often pose slip hazards with hard surfaces, leading to falls—particularly among seniors. In fact, falling is the top non-fatal preventable injury in the United States. 

Read on to learn some essential features and key considerations to keep in mind while designing a safe and functional bathroom for older adults. 

Essential Bathroom Features for the Older Population

Creating a safe environment for seniors does not have to be difficult. You can find a large variety of aging-in-place bathroom safety equipment at local hardware or home and bathroom stores. 

A list of key bathroom features for the older population.

1. Bathroom grab bars 

Bathroom grab bars are essential for older adults because they offer crucial support and stability to prevent slips and falls. The ideal placement for grab bars is  33-36 inches from the floor. You can install grab bars throughout the bathroom, including at the entry to the shower or tub, shower walls, and near the toilet. You might want to choose grab bars with anti-slip grips for added assurance.

2. Raised toilet seats 

Raised toilet seats allow you to easily sit down and stand up from the toilet because they’re higher than regular toilet seats. Ideally, raised toilet seats should be 17 to 19 inches off the ground and securely attached to the toilet to prevent instability. Opt for models with handles for added support and convenience.

3. Skid mats 

Skid mats can be placed throughout areas in the bathroom, including the bathtub and surrounding floor. Skid mats offer a secure and non-slip surface that enhances stability during bathing. To maximize their effectiveness, ensure the skid mat covers the entire shower floor and has suction cups for a secure grip. Regularly clean the mat to prevent soap and mildew buildup to maintain its slip-resistant properties.

4. Shower seats 

Shower seats or shower chairs are 17-19 inches (43.2-48.3 centimeters) tall, which allows most individuals to sit comfortably with their feet flat on the floor. Shower seats play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and comfort of seniors during bathing. They provide a stable surface for individuals with reduced mobility, allowing them to sit and shower with ease. 

When considering shower seats, opt for models with non-slip surfaces and sturdy construction. If you prefer a dry seating area, position the shower seat on the opposite side of the showerhead. If you want accessibility to the shower controls while you’re seated, you can place the shower seat closer to the showerhead wall. 

Be sure to clean the shower seat regularly and look for signs of wear to uphold its effectiveness over time.

5. Roll-in showers

A standard roll-in shower has a 60-inch wide entry, allowing easy accessibility for those with mobility challenges. Unlike traditional showers with raised thresholds, roll-in showers have a seamless, barrier-free entry so wheelchair users can roll directly into the shower area.

When considering roll-in showers, ensure a wide entry for accessibility and non-slip flooring and strategically placed grab bars for added safety and support. You might also consider installing a handheld showerhead for convenience and flexibility during use.

6. Accessible cabinets

Senior-friendly cabinets are 3-4 inches lower than the usual cabinet height (34.5 inches). Opting for cabinets with lower storage spaces ensures items are within easy reach. This promotes independence in daily tasks and minimizes unnecessary stretching or bending.

When selecting or modifying cabinets, prioritize pull-out or pull-down shelves to maximize accessibility. Install handles that are easy to grip, and consider implementing a contrasting color scheme to aid individuals with visual impairments. Additionally, ensure cabinets are securely anchored to the wall for stability, especially if you think seniors will use them for support while navigating the space.

7. Walk-in tub installation 

Walk-in tubs require a space about 60 inches long and 30 inches wide, but they’re a great option to eliminate slips and falls. Walk-in tubs have a door that allows users to step in and out easily and eliminates the need to step over the side of the tub. The built-in seating and handrails add an extra layer of safety, allowing seniors to bathe with peace of mind.

You can easily purchase walk-in tubs online or in person, but since these items are very large, we recommend asking for assistance from your local team at Mr. Handyman® for installation services. 

8. Light installation

When planning an elderly bathroom remodel, additional lighting is a great way to make bathrooms safer. More lighting provides more visibility and sight of things that may be more difficult for seniors to see, such as splashes of water on the floor. Consider adding lighting near the toilet, shower, and sink to increase visibility and safety.

Key Considerations for a Safe and Accessible Bathroom Remodel

Let’s look at some key considerations to keep in mind while remodeling a bathroom for older adults. 

Regular maintenance

Regular bathroom maintenance involves keeping an eye on a few key things. Make sure to check and tighten grab bars — you want them to be securely mounted into the walls. Look for any wear on non-slip surfaces to prevent slips and falls. Ensure the faucets and other fixtures are working properly and address any leaks promptly.

When you have professionals on the job, they can catch and fix these things early, ensuring the bathroom remains safe for seniors.

Bathroom placement

It’s important to make sure there’s a bathroom on the main level for two-level homes. This ensures your loved one can quickly get to a safe bathroom and won’t risk falling while going up or down the stairs. When adding a bathroom, there is also the opportunity to create a fully customized senior-friendly space.

You can spruce up your bathroom with some attractive yet functional elements such as decorative grab bars or stylish slip-resistant flooring, seamlessly blending safety with aesthetics.

Hiring professionals

When it comes to remodeling bathrooms for seniors, selecting a contractor with experience in senior-friendly remodeling is key. These professionals bring the expertise needed to ensure the design not only meets safety standards but also caters to the specific needs and preferences of older individuals.

If you need assistance with home modifications for seniors, the pros at Mr. Handyman are ready to help!

Bathroom Remodel for Older Adults FAQ

Our expert team has answers to some of the most common questions related to designing bathrooms for seniors.

What type of shower is best for older adults?

A walk-in or roll-in shower with a low or no threshold for easy entry is the best option for older adults. It should have slip-resistant flooring, strategically placed grab bars for support, and a handheld showerhead for added convenience. Adding a  built-in seating option can enhance comfort and safety during showering. 

How do you design a bathroom for people over 65?

Designing a senior-friendly bathroom involves installing grab bars for support, non-slip flooring, comfort-height fixtures, and walk-in tubs or roll-in showers for easy access. Adequate lighting is also crucial for enhanced visibility. Professionals can help tailor the design to specific needs, ensuring a safe and accessible environment for older individuals.

What size should a bathroom be for the older population?

An ideal senior-friendly bathroom should have a minimum 42-inch-wide entry. Ensure the toilet has a surrounding space of at least 60 inches in width, and position the center of the toilet 16-18 inches away from the side wall.

Choose Mr. Handyman for Bathroom Remodeling Services

Trust our experienced team at Mr. Handyman to help with your renovation, remodeling, or repair services to help build safe bathrooms for your aging parents or grandparents. Contact us Mr. Handyman to get started with your bathroom renovations or additional home improvement ideas for aging in place

Call or schedule an appointment online to get started.