Accessible Bathroom Design – Tips for Aging in Place

Accessible Bathroom Design – Tips for Aging in Place

Having the opportunity to age in place is the goal for many seniors, and there are many small improvements you can make to help achieve that dream, making your home more comfortable and safe. Sometimes, this is as simple as eliminating trip hazards.

Provide clearances in hallways and doorways so that there is adequate room to navigate to fixtures, such as the toilet, tub or shower, sink and vanity; replace round doorknobs with lever designs; and consider adding safety grab-bars for secondary support while bathing or changing. Safety grab-bars can complement the décor of the bathroom.

Floor Space

Accessible bathrooms provide people with independence, dignity, and a sense of comfort.

Accessible bathroom design needs to ensure clear floor space to accommodate a wheelchair or some other type of mobility device, as well as to allow for a user to transfer from their mobility device into the bathroom. So, include a minimum of 60 inches of clear floor space to put toward your accessible bathroom design.

Safety features such as grab bars and slip-resistant flooring may facilitate transfers while reducing accidents risk in accessible bathrooms They usually co-occur with toilets, showers and bathtubs because it helps individuals maintain stability while transferring and reducing accidents risk.

Homeowners can personalise accessible bath designs with decorative and storage features, and don’t we all need extra storage space for our washcloths and towels? Finishes must be durable and easy to maintain. Choose colours with a strong contrast to help visually impaired individuals distinguish objects more quickly and easily.

Clear Doorways

It is believed that accessible bathrooms are necessary for individuals of any age and disability. Regretfully, ill-designed accessible bathrooms can force the mobility-impaired to rely on friends and families, or to go to clinics instead of affording the privilege of living at home.
Bathrooms are mandatory for the wealthy and the poor alike, as well as for people of any age group and capability. Poorly designed accessible bathrooms, especially in society nowadays, can lead the patients with disability to become unable to look after themselves and instead depend on others such as families and friends or go to medical centres.
If the bathroom area fitted is too narrow, then people may find it a struggle to get in or they may not be able to utilise the facilities, instead having to rely on others to attend to them. As a result, a great amount of time has to be spent and an over-reliance on others.
Mobility-impaired patients would prefer to live at home if the equipment is competently designed, but they may not want to go to unnecessary trouble in getting into a home bathroom and be troubled by those who step in to help them. In sum, for the reason stated above, accessible bathrooms are obligatory for people of any age and impairment.

The doorway leading into the bathroom must be wide enough to give those using a wheelchair or walker clearance without much maneuvering. If there is a door, it should not swing into clear floor space needed for the use of any access features, such as toilets and showers. Hinges that allow for a wider open angle can be used, or one can just remove the swing clearance angle.

Other ideas for ageing-in-place bathrooms include lever handles instead of knob-style handles for faucets, and mirrors that are not flat but angled so they can be viewed easily while seated for users. Non-slip materials for flooring are used around sinks and bathtubs; furthermore, a good level of illumination is essential for visibility but it should be controllable at night to optimise sleeping or resting conditions.

Grab Bars

Grab bars around showers, bathtubs and toilets allow individuals with mobility issues to maintain their stability – especially if designed specifically to the individual’s height and needs – but financial constraints, lack of wall space or installation issues may prevent this altogether.

Falls among older adults and people with compromised mobility are one of the most common causes of injury in the home, and bathrooms are frequent sites of falls. Grab bars significantly reduce the risk of fall-related injury by providing secure assistance for older or disabled individuals.


Retrofitting a bathroom to facilitate ageing in place involves attention to detail, for example changing the doorknob to a lever on the bathroom door, or installing lever handles instead of knobs to operate the shower or bathtub. It makes it easier for people to more effectively manage any loss of hand strength and reduce the risk as well as possible injury from slipping.

Colour contrast between floors and walls can help guide a person with vision loss who is attempting to find his or her way. Lights, including dimmers or touchless sensor alternatives, should also be considered.

You can make things easier by having a lowered vanity with pull-out shelves so that things can be reached without bending or stretching, and having taller-than-standard toilets can help with sitting down if they have a lower seat height (which is said to reduce back pain) – all ideas that will help make your home safer and more comfortable to live in for people of all ages and physical abilities. If would like to talk to us about our accessible bathroom remodelling service, or just need some help finding the right accessible bathroom option, contact AKW today.