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What to Include in a Successful Aging-In-Place Bathroom Remodel

When you first purchased your home, you may not have given much thought to how future lifestyle changes may necessitate a home remodel. As a matter of comfort and safety, it’s important to keep in mind universal design features that can accommodate everyone’s needs and/or requirements, regardless of age or ability.

Whether you build a new home or remodel your current home, incorporating universal design features may minimize injuries for you or a loved one such as slipping and falling in the bathroom and prolong the stay in your home.

Here are a few aging-in-place bathroom design elements that will provide maximum convenience and livability in your home:

Bathtub/Shower

To minimize the chance of falling when getting into the tub or shower, consider installing a new walk-in tub. Instead of climbing over the edge, you simply open the door. When closed, it’s watertight.

Homeowners who prefer to keep their conventional tub and shower in place can opt for a glass door to replace the shower curtain, which is beneficial for the added stability it provides. And since you’re doing upgrades, a flexible, hand-held shower, grab bars and a stool to sit on when bathing will make for a much safer and comfortable experience.

Cabinets

The cabinets where you store toiletries, as well as first aid supplies and medicine, should be easy for anyone to access. And if you or someone else in your family will be using a wheelchair, it’s helpful to lower the cabinets so they can still be reached from a sitting position. As people age, they often take more medications and use other health remedies, so make sure to install cabinets with ample size for better organization and easier access.

Floors

Slippery bathroom floors are particularly dangerous for people who experience difficulties with mobility, balance, or vision. While bathroom tiles are often preferred for their ease of cleaning, some can be quite slippery and hard, although, in recent years, slip resistance has improved for many tile choices. Rubber flooring is an excellent non-slip option, while Vinyl is ideal for creating a softer surface. For best results, consider adding additional thin rubber bath mats wherever water might accumulate, such as near the sink and shower/tub to help prevent falls.

Grab Bars

Whatever a person’s age, it makes sense to proceed with caution in a wet and slippery environment, especially when moving about in the bathroom. This is where grab bars can make a difference for your aging-in-place bathroom remodel. Install grab bars to assist you when you get up and down from the toilet and get in and out of the shower and/or bathtub. Adding grab bars doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice appearances, though. Unlike stark, institutional metal bars that you see installed in bathrooms at medical facilities, you can find home grab bars in a range of colors and styles to nicely compliment your bathroom design.

Lights

There are two primary considerations to keep in mind for lighting when upgrading your bathroom. Lighting must be abundant and adequate so you can see clearly, avoiding accidents; this is especially important since our eyesight tends to worsen with age. The lights must also be easy to access when it comes time to change them. Ideally, you’ll want multiple light sources, so if one bulb goes out, you’ll still have plenty of light until you change it. Another suggestion is to switch to eco-friendly LED bulbs that can last for years before burning out.

You also may want to consider adding lights powered by batteries, avoiding the hassle of rewiring the bathroom and giving you a great deal of flexibility for where you place them. Want a light right next to the toilet, or above a towel rack? No problem! Individuals with mobility issues can make the bathroom even safer by installing some motion sensors to switch lights on and off automatically when you enter and leave.

Sink

Whether you are recovering from an injury or are experiencing aches and pains such as from arthritis, it makes sense to switch out clunky, uncomfortable knobs to handles, which are much easier to manage. You can also install a foot-operated faucet, allowing hands-free control. As is the case with bathroom cabinets, you may need to lower the bathroom sink to accommodate a person sitting in a wheelchair. You can reduce the chance of injury from hot water by installing scald-prevention devices at the shower/tub and sink.

Every aspect of the bathroom should be evaluated for potential slip and fall problems. For example, choose rounded edges for the bathroom counter, to lessen the chances of injuries caused by falls.

Toilet

To make it easier to use the toilet, it’s a good idea to replace the original with a new, higher unit that is easier to sit on and stand up from. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of installing a taller seat. People with mobility issues can add a bidet, making personal hygiene all the more convenient.

Upgrading Your Home With Universal Design for Aging-in-Place

There are some important considerations to keep in mind when preparing a bathroom remodel for homeowners who want to harness the principles of universal design to accommodate issues such as disability and aging-in-place. An excellent way to start is by signing up for a free home remodeling seminar. Homeowners can stay on top of the latest design ideas by checking out our remodeling portfolio. And once you have a better idea of what you need for your bathroom remodel, you’ll want to speak with one of our expert designers. Give us a call at 765.838.1644 today.

 

In-Law Suites, a Sweet Addition to Your Home

Considering adding an in-law suite to your home? Given the changing landscape of the economy, in-law suites are becoming a popular choice for many homeowners. Particularly, with multigenerational housing increasing as well. Whether you are converting a room, adding a free-standing apartment, or building a bedroom and bath addition, one common attribute is the ground floor accessibility and added sales appeal (generally, in-law suites increase property value).

If you’re like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. As you think about your parents’ future and those of your in-laws (and even your own), some initial planning can ensure both you and your loved ones are comfortable, independent and safe.

Consider these helpful tips before you build:

1) Location, Location, Location

Decide where to build the in-law suite. You’ll want to assess your home to determine the best possible location. Do you have a garage or enclosed porch that can be converted into a living space? Do you have two bedrooms that can be combined into one, or a basement that can be converted into a separate living area? Or, perhaps you have adequate space to build a room addition?

If a room addition is necessary to accommodate your new in-law suite, you’ll want to make sure that the new space blends seamlessly with your home’s exterior. A design build contractor will work with you to ensure the addition flows with the original architecture of your home.

Basement Remodel 2 Basement Remodel Bedroom 4

2)  Accommodations

Once you have identified where to add your in-law space, you will need to decide what you want to include in the space and how it should flow. Typical in-law suites include a living room, full kitchen and a separate bedroom and private bathroom with adequate storage in both. Ideally, an in-law suite will also have a separate entrance. In this case, zoning restrictions may come in to play and determine what you can or cannot do. Your design/build contractor will help you navigate this process.

We’ve collected some in-law suite ideas for you on our Pinterest board. Enjoy!

Basement Remodel Living Room 3 Basement Remodel Bathroom 5

3)  Universal Design Principles

When designing an in-law suite, it’s important to incorporate universal design principles, to ensure whoever occupies the space is safe, independent and comfortable for years to come. The National Association of Home Builders defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable to all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation of specialized design.” A universally designed space considers aging-in-place needs, whether you are young or old, short, tall, healthy or ill. These amenities include, but are not limited to:

  • No step entries and non-slip floors
  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Wider hallways (36-42 inches wide)
  • Extra floor space
  • Easy open, lever door and drawer hardware
  • Larger bathrooms with hand-held shower heads and level-entry, curbless showers
  • Good lighting to include well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances
  • Lower light switches and thermostat controls, within easy reach of the bed.
  • Easy access to separate heat and air conditioning controls as well as smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors.

For questions about incorporating an in-law suite into your home, contact Riverside Construction today! Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

5 Trends for 2015

No one wants their house to look dated. One of the ways that you can avoid this is by making small changes that follow the most forward looking design trends of the year. Following the trends (those things that designers are seeing consistently for years) rather than the fads (those things that hold limited popularity) is the key. Read more