According to the Census Bureau, there are currently close to 35 million people over the age of 65 that are either living with a spouse or alone in their home. By the year 2030, that figure will explode to just over 70 million.
The National Association of Home Builders tells us that the second biggest issue facing builders over the next five years will be aging in place. Of all of the remodeling jobs done in the United States, about 60% are related to changes necessary for an aging adult population.
Simply defined, aging in place means being able to live in your home independently; regardless of age or physical limitations that restrict mobility. Aging in place considerations should include planning for elderly parents, anticipating physical complications due to an accident or injury, or simply being pro-active in relation to your own inevitable decline as you age.
Anticipate the Future
Since we’re all getting older, or have family members who have hit retirement age, planning for quality of life and independence becomes absolutely essential.
Let’s face it, when you can live out your life in comfortable, familiar surroundings, your quality of life improves. Not having to move from your home to secure support services as your personal needs change should be the goal as you plan for aging in place.
Building or Remodeling an Accessible Home – A Checklist
If you’re in the early phase of budgeting for aging in place, here is a checklist of items you will want to consider…
1. Comfort Height & Elongated Toilets
These toilets sit a bit higher than regular toilets. For most people, sitting at at height of 17 or 19 inches is more comfortable than standard toilet heights of 14 or 16 inches. The “ideal” height for most people is 18 inches.
Why is this important? It is easier to get on and off; especially if you have limited mobility or are confined to a wheelchair. An elongated toilet bowl fits the human body better than a round bowl. Toilet manufacturers like Toto carry a huge line of comfort height and elongated toilets that will complement any design style.
2. Grab Bars
Over 25% of all household accidents occur in the bathroom. That number is even higher for senior citizens. Just two years ago, people over 65 accounted for about a third of emergency room visits stemming from slip & fall accidents in the home.
Even though HGTV has yet to do an aging in place episode featuring designer grab bars, their utility and usability are well worth the investment. Since ceramic and acrylic tub and shower surfaces are extremely slippery when wet, something as simple as dropping the soap can lead to a harmful fall. It doesn’t matter how fit you are.
Strategically placing grab bars in the tub and shower area benefits all members of the family. But remember, grab bars are only as strong as the wall they’re fixed to or the mounting hardware that’s used.
For extra protection against slipping, you may also want to consider adding Slipguard to the floor of your bathtub and shower base.
3. PT Rails®
Physical Therapy (or P.T.) Rails help promote safe standing, and transfers to and from toilets. They are wall mounted and can be configured to accommodate any need. P.T. Rails® can be placed on either or both sides of your toilet, and are designed to prevent wrist strain.
When not in use, P.T. Rails® hinge upward and out of the way. But you will have to be sure that the install area is structurally sound and meets manufacturer’s recommendations. P.T. Rails® should only be installed by a qualified contractor or remodeling company.
4. Scald Guard®
Hot water burns account for 20% of all reported burns in the United States. About 2,000 of those burn victims are young children. Scalding has a ripple injury effect which can also lead to falls, shock, broken bones and hear attacks.
Delta Scald Guard® protects the young, old and everyone else in-between. This device prevents water from bathtubs, sinks or showers from becoming too hot and causing accidental scalding. Even though most hot water heaters allow you to set a safe temperature, a scald guard provides an additional layer of protection.
Scald guard should be installed in all bathrooms and kitchens; areas where most scalding accidents occur.
5. Safety Tubs
Safety tubs or walk-in tubs are designed to make it easy to get in and out of the bath while enjoying a relaxing, therapeutic bath. The Safety Tub brand is the original inventor and manufacturer and offers the most comprehensive features available in the industry.
- A patented T5 Door System for a watertight seal
- Soaker, Jet, Air or dual massage systems
- Legs only massage that can run with the tub half-full
- A premium faucet with hand-held shower head
- Self-cleaning sanitary system
- Minute Drain water removal
Safety Tubs come in Acrylic and Gelcoat finishes.
When you visit the ReBath of Houston showroom, we can help you choose a tub with the right features and size for your needs.
Although this is not everything you can do to prepare your home for aging in place, it is at least a start. ReBath of Houston is an expert in aging in place bath remodeling. Contact us when you’re ready to get started.