Since the bathroom is the biggest obstacle to safely living at home as we age, it’s not only important to access your needs at present, but to also include the proper elements that will allow for accessibility issues that could arise for anyone in your family. Many of the calls Mid-Coast energy Systems receives come in the midst of a medical emergency after someone has fallen, had surgery or suffered some other illness. It’s often a shock to realize that returning to our own home or bathroom design is not be possible. Obviously, renovating under these circumstances is very stressful and ill advised.
The best way to plan long term is to incorporate safety modifications during any routine bathroom update or remodel– long before there is a medical emergency. If you are not in a position for a major bathroom overhaul, know that even simple updates can make a world of difference.
Basic modifications you can do now-
- Simple installation of carefully placed grab bars not only in bathrooms, but also in kitchens, walkways, stairways and bedrooms.
- Laundry facilities can be relocated from the basement to first floor. Comfort Height toilets replace standard
- Old bathtubs should be replaced with sectional shower units that include personal showers and seats.
- Installation of entry ramps
- Relocating light switches and outlets within easy reach
All new walk-in shower units may not accommodate a full size wheelchair however; a transfer seat allows the wheelchair bound person to slide on to the seat with minimum assistance. These new units will fit into the area of the old tub and can use the same bathtub drain plumbing, minimizing cost and installation time.
The most compelling information to support the sensibility of an “Age in Place” safety modification is the fact that even a major bathroom modification (such as a new bathroom located on the first floor) will rarely exceed the cost of one or two months in an assisted living facility. Given our aging population, accessibility modifications properly done, may very well add to the resale value of a residence.
Until recent years, homeowners who developed health issues or balance problems often fell into the belief that they have lost control over their life and the only natural option is to enter a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The children of aging parents often feel the same frustration.
Today, there is a vast selection of sleek and stylish universal bathroom fixtures from which to choose. Thanks to several years of consumer education surrounding the Age in Place concept, we now have an opportunity to make important decisions for ourselves, before there is illness or injury and someone else is forced to make them for us.
Author: Holly Haining – Zulieve is an independent marketing agent for Mid-Coast Energy Systems.
If you have questions regarding bathroom safety, please contact Gina Philippon at MCES