Aging Gracefully – Bathroom Aids

Baby boomers are unlike any other previous generation of senior citizens. They are far more active and physical in their everyday lifestyle, while planning to “age in place” as they retire. Fortunately the aids now available for use in bathrooms are very well designed and easily fitted.

A curb-less shower enclosure beautifully bridges the gap between luxury and necessity. A stationary water tower with shower heads strategically located up and down the tower make it easy for people using a mobility device or that need assistance.

Adjustable or easily moveable bathroom cabinets are an advantage to senior citizens that are aging gracefully. These versatile shelving and vanity choices can be adapted to make access easy, even from a low down wheelchair position.

Most modern homes allow for the easy installation of grab bars or fold-out arms for use later in life, for assistance in maintaining independent movement in the bathroom.

A new toilet on the market is one that is made at the same height as a kitchen or dining room chair, alleviating excessive bending for average height adults. Other bathroom accessories made for older users include gooseneck bathroom taps, low-lever handles, non-slip surfaces and the use of contrasting colours to help with depth perception and failing eyesight.

With 74 percent of all people over the age of 50 now remaining in their homes for the rest of their lives, it is clear there is a need for a functionally designed bathroom that will age as gracefully as its owner and let them live their life in style.


Cleaning Your Bathroom

When you are faced with a whole range of surface types in your bathroom, it is tempting to go and buy a range of cleaning products to suit.  There are those which are designed for cleaning bathroom tiles, different ones for glass shower doors and plastic shower enclosures as well as special ones designed for enamel baths. 

Manufacturers of cleaning products have now caught on to the fact that having half a dozen different cleaning products for one room in the house is time consuming, as well as expensive and often messy.  Most will now have a bathroom ‘all in one’ type product that can be used on all surfaces and will clean both dirt and limescale.  Most of these cleaners are also designed to work without too much user effort.

If there is one separate product that it is worth investing in then a product that helps to stop limescale forming on shower cubicles is a good idea. Unless you are happy to clean your shower every day, then this can be a timesaving idea that will involve you spending less time scrubbing and will give you more time to yourself.

You should also take care to stop mould and mildew forming on the grout between your bathroom tiles.  This can happen without you even realising it, but is easily resolved with the use of a good cleaner.  Several of the aforementioned ‘all in one’ cleaners now contain an ingredient that can help remove and prevent the build-up of mould on grout, and regular usage should keep it at bay.


Accidents in the Bathroom

The bathroom is the place where we go to relax, to forget the travails of modern society, an oasis of calm in a frenetic, confusing world.

Unfortunately, especially for those with children, it is also a potential safety hazard.

Small children love to run around, anywhere and at all times. This is as true in the bathroom as it is in the kitchen. Thinking of this, you may well decide to remove the glass toothbrush holder and your favourite glass knick-knacks from the shelf and side of the sink. Ceramic soap dishes are also something you may well choose to throw out.

Why children are so fascinated by keys is one of life’s mysteries. Having the key in the lock, inside the bathroom door, is courting disaster. If it is not swallowed, it will be turned, leaving the child either choking or cheerfully running a bath to splash around in; with you on the outside.

Bathroom floors, for fairly obvious reasons, tend to be wet, which means slippery. Ceramic tiles are a particular concern, turning into a skating rink after every bath time. Rubberised bath mats, strategically scattered over the floor is a good idea.

If a child does manage to turn on a tap, it will be the hot one, so regulate the temperature on the boiler. This may be a nuisance, but will cut down on potential scalding.

Finally, we come to hairdryers. You may be running late for an appointment, having to quickly style your hair in front of the bathroom mirror, become distracted and leave the hairdryer on the side of the sink. Result – disaster.


Bathrooms for disabled users

If you have a disabled family member, then it is important to make sure that your bathroom has the right equipment to make them feel at ease. There are many types of equipment available to make your bathroom suitable for disabled users, including walk-in baths and showers. There are also showers that offer a variety of facilities, such as special doors and trays, which are ideal for disabled users.

There are shower seats for wheelchair users, which come with a variety of colours and styles and offer many useful features. Some seats have padding, which provides extra comfort for the user and they also have arms and hinges for safety. It is important that these seats are installed properly, for safety reasons.

Grab rails are designed for disabled users and should be installed near all the areas that may be difficult to climb into or sit on, without assistance, such as the bath or the toilet. Grab rails come in a variety of colours and at around £10.00, are quite affordable. They also vary in size and shape, so it is a good idea to measure the area where you are planning to install them, so that you can choose the most suitable product.

There are motorised washbasin lifts for wheelchair users. These are available in a selection of styles and some come with a mirror. Wheelchair users can control the height of the washbasin and mirror to find a level that they are comfortable with, simply by pushing a button. Some motorised washbasins also come with spotlights.


Bathroom Accessories – Slip Resistant Mats

Fitting a bath mat inside your bath or shower, to prevent you from slipping, may not seem very appealing to anyone who is concerned with their bathroom looking very chic and stylish. Yet the humble bath mat has evolved in terms of design and now you can have something that is stylish, but with the slip resistant qualities afforded by the traditional bath mat.

Due to the combination of water and soap, the floor of your bath or shower can very easily become slippery, but the risk is increased if you also use sensual oils or luxurious bath/shower products. It is always better to be safe than sorry, since any knock or fall can be quite dangerous, particularly in the confined space of a bath or shower.

To avoid these potentially dangerous situations, you can now fit an anti slip bathmat with suction grips that will keep it stuck to the floor and which will prevent you from slipping. Mats are available in frosted glass style, with little ‘bubbles’ blown in or wooden type slat ‘bath ducks’ that look extremely stylish in a very modern, minimalist bathroom. In a more traditional bathroom, it would perhaps, be more appropriate to fit the older style of bath mat, perhaps a clear mat or something quite plain.

Whichever style you choose, you can then add another, matching mat, for you to stand on when you get out of the bath or shower, so once again, you have a look that is harmonious and exudes understated chic.


Bathrooms for Disabled People

The days when bathrooms for the disabled were clinical and sterile environments have long since gone and now they can be as funky and stylish as any standard ones, whilst still affording easy access.

The most challenging problem, from the point of view of bathing, is obviously a profound physical disability, where the user may require a hoist to get into and out of the bath. A bath fitted with a seat that rises and lowers, to facilitate easy access and egress, might offer another solution. Whilst these features will assist the disabled person, able-bodied people living in the house may find them to be utilitarian and uninviting rather than luxurious and welcoming.

The answer may be to have a standard bath, which is free standing, but deep enough to accommodate a hoist, or even a whirlpool bath for hydrotherapy. Either option will accommodate the disabled person, whilst also allowing able-bodied users the opportunity to bathe in a conventional and attractive environment. 

The day-to-day bathing requirements for a disabled person can also be satisfied by installing a shower fitted with a level entrance point and perhaps ramped drainage. This can be a standard shower unit, with just some slight modifications to the plumbing.

In order to allow a wheelchair user easy access, wash hand basins will need to have sufficient knee room under them.

With some careful thought and planning, a bathroom for use by both the disabled and able-bodied can be successfully installed without it having to cost a fortune.