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Aging – How to Make Bathroom Safer

Aging in Place is Right Now!

Most of us are reluctant to change where and how we live – as long as we are managing well at the moment.  It’s only natural to avoid thinking about inevitable physical or mental limitations. Unfortunately they seem inherent in the aging process with odds increasing exponentially after the age of fifty.  If you are Aging in Place or planning to – here you’ll find ideas, insight and perhaps inspiration on making bathroom safer!

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It Pays to Retrofit:

By now, most understand that Aging in Place means the ability to remain in one’s own home forever, if at all possible.  The cost of a moderately extensive bathroom modification or retrofit falls between $9,000 – $12,000. While an assisted living facility will cost $50,000 to $60,000 per year and a nursing home bed up to $100,000.  The substantial cost savings of a retrofit become crystal clear.  Moreover, right now is the time to begin applying small changes that will surely make any home-sweet-home a safe haven for visitors and residents alike.

Think Small at First:

Mother Theresa said  “do small things with great love.”  We can certainly apply this same philosophy to Aging in Place, by making safety improvements a bit at a time focusing on small things first. The suggestions below are simple, affordable, and provide instant gratification and a sense of safety, stability and control. What are you waiting for?

For example:

(1) Install sturdy support/grab bars at every step or stair in your home.  Especially in the bathroom shower, inasmuch as people tend to grab a shower curtain or door handle when they lose balance, bringing the whole system crashing down on top of them. Grab bars can also be strategically placed in the kitchen and bedrooms.

(2) Stick a wireless LED light in dark areas in just a few minutes. Not only is there no wiring involved, but these lights have motion sensors that turn on as you approach a step or enter a bathroom.

(3) Make sure at least one entry of the house features a ramp.

gina marj Find a Certified Aging In Place Specialist

MCES Estimating/Sales Manager Gina Philippon (right) is a certified Aging in Place specialist with years of experience. She concentrates on consumer education with video productions and through panel discussions on this subject.  Sadly, many of the calls Gina receives for bathroom modification are panic calls in the midst of a medical emergency. Only after someone has fallen, had surgery or suffered some other illness, do they  realize that returning to the same living arrangement isn’t possible. Obviously, renovating under these circumstances is very stressful and an ill-advised.

However, you can implement safety features over time, perhaps during a routine bathroom update or remodel.  By planning long term, you can avoid the dreaded damage control mode that may occur as a by-product of a sudden in the midst of an illness, injury or surgery.

By applying some of the small changes proposed above, you will be inspired and confident to make more substantial safety improvements over time.

Some changes include:

(1) Relocating laundry facilities from the basement to the first floor.

(2) Replacing all standard toilets with comfort height models

(3) Replacing conventional bathtubs with sectional shower units that feature a low threshold.

(4)  Relocating light switches and outlets to within easy reach.

5)  Removing traditional door thresh holds and throw rugs.

(6) If there is no first floor bathroom, seriously consider installing one.

For more information on Home Accessibility Modifications, choices in universal fixtures and design concepts please contact Gina Philippon by calling Mid-Coast Energy at 207 563 5147.