Age in Place: Essential Steps to Designing a Senior Bathroom

by Lynn Wilson, Founder of The CareGiver Partnership

The bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the house for falls
Falling is an important health concern for older adults, and the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in an elderly person’s home. The combination of slippery surfaces and physical instability requires special attention to designing this room with safety at the forefront.

Clear pathways through the bathroom, removing any unnecessary cords and decorative objects that could decrease mobility. Check that flooring is properly maintained, with no loose tiles or edges on vinyl that could be tripping hazards. If rugs are used, they should lie flat. Apply nonskid tape underneath rugs, or better yet, use nonskid mats. Make sure floor cleaners don’t leave behind a slick surface.

Tubs and showers
Bath benches help prevent falls
Safety bars and textured mats are essentials in a bathroom designed for senior safety. If your tub surround does not have a safety bar, also called a grab bar, install one on the wall inside the tub or shower, as well as directly outside the tub for ease in getting in and out. Add textured bath mats or nonskid tape to the shower bottom for extra traction. Is standing in the shower uncomfortable for your loved one? Add a bath bench and a shower head with detachable hose. Check water heater settings to help avoid the risk of scalding.

As we age, it becomes more difficult to get in and out of seated positions. This is where toilet safety rails and a raised toilet seat will provide comfort and safety. Consider replacing a white toilet seat with one in a contrasting color to help with visibility and depth perception. For a variety of safety options that can change as a senior’s needs change, a 3-in-1 commode can serve as a raised toilet seat, a toilet safety frame or a commode that can be used anywhere in the home.

Make sure the bathroom, and hallways leading to it, are sufficiently lit. A fixture with two bulbs instead of one is better when one burns out and can’t be changed immediately, and adding a nightlight or motion-sensor light can provide a little extra peace of mind. If vision is impaired, add nonskid tape strips in contrasting colors to floors, grab bars, and objects throughout the room to improve traction, visibility and depth perception.

                                       Watch the video - how to make a home safer for seniors

Hygiene supplies
Place hygiene supplies where they’re easily accessed, in a place that doesn’t require a lot of bending low or reaching high. For seniors managing incontinence, many find a tall, narrow freestanding cabinet close to the toilet to be an ideal place to keep wipes and absorbent products within reach. Visit for more information on incontinence products that help maintain personal dignity and to download a free guide to preventing falls.

Emergency communication
For caregivers and seniors who want that extra reassurance of knowing help is just a call or button press away, install a phone jack or an emergency response system such as Guardian Alert 911, which doesn’t require a jack and allows the user to call for help from anywhere in the home through wearable pendant.

Building a bathroom
If you’re adding living space for a parent to your home, or just a lucky senior having a home built to your specifications, look for an experienced contractor who understands the needs of the elderly and aging in place. Your wish list might include a wide doorway, elevated counter, wall-mounted sink, automatic faucets and soap dispenser, and a walk-in or wheelchair-accessible tub/shower.

Call us.  We're here to help.
Lynn Wilson founded The CareGiver Partnership based on her experience in caring for loved ones as well as providing the highest level of customer service. She takes pride in offering personalized service that helps her customers find the best solutions for their individual needs. Now that her children are grown, Lynn enjoys spending time with her granddaughter while also helping to care for her mom. To find out how The CareGiver Partnership can serve you, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST.


Lavine said...

Installing an emergency communication line is vital in a senior bathroom. This is when you have to contact a bathroom remodeling nyc contractor to ensure your bathroom's safety for seniors.

Water Heaters Greenwood Indiana said...

Bathroom remodeling requires plumbing and carpentry work, so hire a professional unless you have the required skills to complete the job.

Anonymous said...


Custom Care Walk In Baths said...

Great article, according to research most accidents happen in the bathroom. Great article.

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