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Independent living : bathroom adaptations for the elderly

Make life a bit easier with our helpful advice

Monday 15th February 2021

As we get older, most of us get a little less mobile. There’s no shame in it, it’s just one of the many facts of life. As this happens, our daily bathroom routine can become somewhat more challenging, and we can start to question how confident we are continuing to live independently.

But according to our recent study, 87% of over 65s now state that they’d rather grow old living at home, and adapting your bathroom can also work out as a much more cost-effective option than moving into residential care. 

If you still value your independence but you struggle stepping in and out of your bath, worry about slipping or find it hard to stand for the length of time it takes to shower, what options are open to you? From shower seats to grab rails, there are a number of independent living solutions to help you adapt your bathroom, so that you can continue to feel confident and maintain your independence, no matter your age. 

Accessible shower enclosures 

Whether you’ve always preferred showers to baths or you’ve come to find them that much easier to manage independently, installing an easy-access shower for the elderly will make the world of difference to your daily bathroom routine. A walk-in shower enclosure will make stepping in and out an easier process, especially when accompanied by some of the features outlined below. 

Easy-to-use showers 

An easy-to-use shower can make a huge difference when it comes to continuing to live independently. Thermostatic mixer showers are ideal in bathrooms for the elderly as they prevent sudden changes in temperature, which means safer showering. As well as being thermostatic, the Mira Advance is visually optimised and audio enhanced, with high-contrast graphics and clear beeps that signal when the shower is being turned on and off and when the desired temperature has been reached. 

Shower seats 

Take further stress out of showering with a shower seatA shower seat gives you the opportunity to sit down while you wash, or to simply take a little break and rest your legs when you need to. They’re easy to install, comfortable and can fold away against the wall while you’re getting in or out of the shower. 

Grab rails 

If you worry about feeling unsteady on your feet or you have concerns about slipping, grab rails can be installed around your bathroom to help you when getting in and out of the bath, stepping into the shower or using the toilet. They provide a little extra assistance and give added reassurance so that you can continue to live independently with confidence. 

Anti-slip flooring 

When thinking about adapting a bathroom for elderly users, choosing appropriate flooring is essential to quell any concerns about slipping and taking a fall. Opt for anti-slip bathroom tiles as well as an anti-slip shower tray and an anti-slip bath. As a temporary measure, you could install anti-slip mats or stickers in your bath or shower. 

Bath boards 

Bath boards offer a simple and inexpensive bathing solution for elderly people that find it challenging to get in and out of the bath. The board sits across the top of the bath, so you can sit on it, swing your legs into the bath and then lower yourself into the water, or you can bathe while sitting on the board.  

Bath hoists and lifts 

If your mobility has become severely limited with age, a bath lift or bath hoist could be the solution to continuing to bathe independently. They’re a more expensive alternative to a bath board, but they offer that much extra assistance. A bath lift raises you from underneath and then lowers you into the water, while a hoist pulls you up from above before easing you in. 

Comfort height toilets 

Raised higher than a conventional WC, comfort height toilets make it easier to sit down and stand back up again. Reduced bending means less pressure on your knees, which should dissolve many of your worries about going to the loo. 

Magnifying mirrors 

Our eyesight can deteriorate as we get older, so magnifying mirrors can make bathroom routines that little bit more enjoyable and more efficient. Go one step further with an illuminated model that provides extra light while you get ready for the day or night. 

Find out more about our Independent Living Range, designed with your needs in mind, and compare the cost of living at home vs moving into residential care in your region with our cost of care calculator