Approximately 28-35% of people aged 65 and over fall each year, increasing to 32-42% for those over 70 years of age. Studies have shown that one of the most common places for falls within the home is the bathroom, due to the excess moisture and slippery surfaces found there.
Although bathroom falls can’t be eradicated, they can be significantly reduced by well thought through, inclusive design. Here are some ideas for age-proofing a bathroom installation to meet the demands of older users, whilst avoiding a clinical look and feel.
Thinking about the layout
When looking at improving safety and mobility in the bathroom, the installer needs to look at the individual who will be using the area. The key to successful design is that they bathroom works for the individual who will be using it, so looking at their unique challenges and choosing the right mobility aids for each situation is key.
Thinking about baths and showers
Walk in baths are an option for independent living, but they tend to be expensive. Level access wet rooms are a more cost effective alternative that removes any trip hazards for users and make the most of the space within the bathroom. A water tight wet room is also easy to install as they can be created using high-quality wet room formers, such as those from AKW.
As the entrance to the showering area should have no threshold to step-over and screens should have no ‘track’ or frame across the entrance, some sliding screens should be avoided. Shower screens on the other hand (such as AKW’s half-height models) allows users to open the door both inward or outward.
Brighter is better, in bathrooms where mobility is an issue high levels of light reduce the risk of falling. Also where ever possible try and convince the user to leave the light on overnight, worried about high energy bills? If the latest in highly efficient LED lighting is used these worries can be put to rest.
An inclusively-designed bathroom or wet room, with appropriately specified equipment, has a host of benefits; from promoting independence and improving dexterity to assisting in the prevention of falls. Installers that can offer inclusively designed bathrooms significantly widen the number of jobs that they can quote for being known as an installer of inclusively designed bathrooms or wet rooms is definitely a competitive advantage worth having.