Tilly and Harold, a couple of mature seniors living in their fifty year old home are looking to make their bathroom comfortable and safer. They contacted a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) through the NAHB website to help them navigate this process. Since Tilly and Harold are not ones to follow blindly, they consulted many different sources like the NCSU CENTER FOR UNIVERSAL DESIGN Residential Rehabilitation, Remodeling and Universal Design report and the AARP for information. They started a list of wants and needs to discuss with their CAPS.
In their research, they discovered there are several things they should concentrate on for their bathroom remodel. First and foremost, they want to make sure they are preparing for their long term comfort and safety. Since they both have arthritis and find it harder to keep up, they want low maintenance finishes. They also know that making these changes will help increase their home value so they want to keep it reasonable but do it right too.
One of the main things on their list, of course, is to get some grab bars near the toilet and at the bath or shower. Luckily, their original builder installed blocking in the walls so they can be installed easily. They also know noted they will need to have a 36” wide door with lever handles and no threshold. Thinking about the layout, they know that a clear 5 foot turn space at the toilet and at the bath or shower will be necessary for maneuvering too.
More items on the list include:
a A vanity that will have multiple heights so Tilly can sit down in front and still be able to reach the sink. Harold is a little concerned about future resale and thinks maybe those new fangled cabinets that could be put back under the vanity if need be would be their best choice.
a They want to install great storage that is easily accessed like pull-outs so Harold won’t have to reach high to put the towels away anymore. Tilly hasn’t been able to reach up to the upper shelves in years.
a Tilly is adamant that they will need a full-length mirror installed in addition to locating the vanity mirror low enough so if she is seated she can still see the mirror.
a The low maintenance laminate flooring is Harold’s vote since it is really nice looking but isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg. Tilly agrees and adds the low maintenance angle.
a They make a note that it will need to be low slip too.
a Another safety decision they read about is to include anti-scald fittings on the faucet and tub or shower.
a Tilly pointed to a picture of a shower and mentioned she read there is such a thing as a curbless shower that will still keep the water from going all over the bathroom. They decided to list that and ask their CAPS about it.
a Harold thinks they will need a shower chair or bench that can be built-in or have enough space for their free-standing chair they already use.
a Tilly made note too that the shower head will need to be a hand-held shower sprayer on a sliding vertical bar, with a 60” long hose.
a Tilly is thinking maybe she would prefer a bathtub over a shower and Harold said they better make sure the bottom is non-slip and there would need to be a 15” extension on the tub deck to make it easier for them to get in and out.
a Harold noted the shower head contraption would work for the tub too.
a Harold pointed to a picture of a toilet and said, “Tilly, let’s make sure we get one of those higher toilets like the ones in the handicapped stalls. They are so much easier to get up from these days. I go to sit down on ours and I feel like I am falling!” Tilly nodded and jotted it down.
“I think they call those Comfort Height or ADA or something like that. It says here on this Kohler site that they are in the 17-18+ inch high. Nice. The elongated bowl would be our best choice,” said Tilly.
Harold held the list and Tilly said, “Didn’t Elsie and John mention about the electrical outlets at 18” off the floor so we could reach them and those rocker light switches? We will want those too. Oh and I would love adjustable lighting that I can change depending on what I need it for, like trimming your eyebrows my dear!”
Harold smiled. “Didn’t John mention something like the light controls being easy to reach if they were between 36” and 42” above the floor?”
Tilly nodded, “Do you think we should consider one of those tankless water heaters? I read where they are good for low maintenance and energy efficiency too.”
“Oh, yes, I like that idea. So, let’s look over this list before that CAPS gal gets here. Seems like there are lots of choices, glad we are going to get some help.”
Stay tuned for more information as Tilly and Harold work to make their home safer and more comfortable…