If you are thinking of building or renovating your bathroom, you would benefit from designing your space according to universal design principles, which aim to meet the current and future needs of every member of your family.
Some realities of modern living, such as lifestyle evolution, the aging of our population and an increased need for autonomy on behalf of persons with reduced mobility, forces us to rethink the design of our bathrooms. The primary objective is no longer to turn it into a peaceful retreat but instead to make it an accessible, functional and, most of all, safe place that can withstand time. So, before you even think about the wall colours and the type of blinds in your windows, start by determining who will be its primary users and plan to meet their needs.
Bathroom safety: Basic tips
The bathroom is one of the rooms carrying the highest risk of accidents in the home. Not only are falls and burns frequent, but other more serious accidents, such as electrocution and drowning, can also occur there. It is therefore crucial to follow basic safety measures when designing a bathroom’s layout and determining its purpose.
- Since splashed water can make surfaces extremely slippery, make sure you install a non-slip floor covering to avoid falls coming in and out of the bath or shower.
- The bottom of your tub should also be skid-proof or covered with a rubber mat.
- Install a deep soap holder to prevent the soap from slipping and falling in the tub or on the floor.
- Remove splashes and puddles of water as soon as possible.
- Unplug and store away all electric appliances, such as hair dryers, razors, curling irons and hair removers. TVs, radios and laptops should also be kept outside of the bathroom.
- Identify your water taps by using the colour blue for cold water and red for hot water, making it easier to tell them apart for anyone using the bathroom.
- To avoid skin burns, keep the temperature of your water tank under 50 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Always leave a night light on in your bathroom.
Safety tips for the elderly
- Install a support bar near the toilet and bathtub.
- You can also install a handle on the side of the tub.
- If you use your cane or walker in the bathroom, make sure to dry it off thoroughly before using it again.
If you build or renovate a bathroom that will be used by a person with Alzheimer’s, the following precautions could prove to be necessary:
- Install tiles that contrast with the tub.
- Strengthen the towel holders if the person has a tendency to cling on to them or better yet, install a support bar.
- Keep shampoo and other liquids outside of the bathroom; certain people can be tempted to taste them.
- Do not leave a wastebasket in the bathroom. The person could mistake it for a toilet.
- Remove all locks to avoid the person locking him or herself inside the bathroom.
Safety tips for persons with limited mobility
If a member of the family has limited mobility, it would be useful for his or her safety to plan for:
- A bigger bathroom
- Adequate lighting
- Support bars near the toilet and bathtub
- A handle on the side of the bathtub
- An elevated toilet seat
- Accessible switches
Safety tips for children
- Make sure you have these indispensable items:
o Non-slip mat
o Tap protectors
o Bath thermometer
o A locked medicine cabinet
- Keep files, razorblades and scissors in a safe place, where they are not accessible to children.
- Medicine and cosmetics should also be stored out of children’s reach.
- Monitor and hold your child when in the bathroom, even if you have a bath seat. When they slip, young children have great difficulty keeping their head out of the water, and can therefore drown very quickly.
Bath/Shower MatsBathroom SafetyThe bath mat allows better grip and increased stability for more safety. Characteristics
- Help prevent slipping in the bathtub/shower
- Textured surface with suction cups underneath
- Latex free
- Non-skid surface
- Colour : blue
Grab BarsBathroom SafetyTo add safety around the bathroom. Offer an additional support. The grab bar can be installed vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Characteristics
- Anti-slip and chrome finish
- Bar diametre: 2.5 cm (1”)
- Assembly screws included
- Rubber gaskets and stainless steel assembly screws included
- Distance between the wall and the bar: 3.8 cm (1.5”)
- Maximum weight capacity: 100 kg (220 lb)
- Easy to install
Adjustable Bath BenchesBathroom SafetyHeight adjustable bath benches made of white moulded plastic, offering greater independence in the bathtub for adults who need additional support. Characteristics
- Seats and backrests with holes for better drainage
- Corrosion-resistant ionized aluminum frames
- Legs are inclined for better stability
- Maximum weight capacity: 100 kg (220 lbs); model 5042: 160 kg (350 lb)