The bathroom can be a wonderful place in which to relax and unwind. Being able to bathe or shower can also be very important to our sense of independence and overall well-being.
Unfortunately, as we get older it can be increasingly difficult to use a conventional bathroom easily and safely. One in three people over the age of 65 suffer a fall each year, rising to one in two of those over 80. Falls represent over half of hospital admissions for accidental injury amongst the elderly and many falls occur in the bathroom.
There are many ways you can make the bathroom safe and accessible however.
Here are five popular bathroom adaptations suitable for the over 70s:
1. Walk in Baths
Walk in baths are ideal for people who find it difficult to get in or out of a standard bath tub. Fitted with a watertight door they allow you to step in without having to pull yourself over a high and potentially slippery bath side or rim. Walk in baths come in a variety of styles, sizes and depths. If you struggle to get into a walk in bath, a further option might be a bath with a power lift. Walk in and power baths are usually fitted with thermostatic controls to ensure the water is not uncomfortably or even dangerously hot.
2. Easy Access Showers
Conventional shower cubicles usually have a high rim at the entrance to the shower tray area. With easy access showers the rim is lower or level with the floor. For level entry access showers, there is usually a slight incline towards the drain to prevent the water from overspilling into the rest of the bathroom. Walk in showers have no door and provide even easier access. You might also consider additional safety accessories such as grab bars and shower seats.
3. Complete Wet Rooms
Wet rooms are fully waterproofed and usually feature an open access walk in shower. The open nature of most wet rooms makes them ideal for people with mobility issues, including wheelchair users. If you are concerned with privacy, you might want to add a lightweight movable screen. The shower can usually be sited in the most convenient place in the room and you can also have other bathroom fittings such as toilets, sinks and bath tubs.
Many modern baths, including walk in models can be fitted with hydrotherapy systems. These use jets of air or water to gently massage you and can help ease aches and pains, including those associated with conditions such as arthritis and swollen joints.
5. Body Drying Systems
If you have mobility issues, suffer from joint pain or are simply not as supple as you once were, you might find it difficult to dry yourself properly. Tender skin can also be chafed from towel drying. A body drying system allows you to gently and safely dry yourself in gentle jets of warm air. Think of it like an all-over hair drier that never gets too hot and can also help reduce moisture in the air.