While these bathroom upgrades are more major and take more planning and money than those covered in Minor Bathroom Upgrades to Make Today, they are worth considering when you are considering any bathroom remodeling project for your existing home. These major bathroom upgrades will make your home more functional later, making aging at home a viable option. These upgrades will also make your own home more marketable to an aging population, or any family who plans to keep aging family members at home.
ADA-Compliant Toilet: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
While you are not required to install an ADA-Compliant toilet in your home, an ADA-Compliant toilet sits at a specific height as recommended by the ADA. If you are purchasing a new toilet for your bathroom upgrade, include ADA toilets in your list. The ADA-Compliant toilet sits at a minimum of 17 inches (ADA). Standard toilets may be as low as 14 inches. There are also toilet seats that add height, as well as toilet seats with handles.
First Floor Bathroom: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
A major home upgrade you may need to make, particularly in an older home, is a bathroom addition on the first floor. There should be a full, not half bath on the ground floor level of your home. Any major home renovations need to include this feature, to help you with your aging at home plan.
Curbless Shower: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
A curbless shower is worth considering when you are renovating the bathroom. A new floor and drainage will have to part of the bathroom upgrade. These curbless and frameless showers are large enough for a wheelchair to be rolled into, without bumping or scraping the walls.
Wider Doors: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
Widen doorways in the bathroom to a full 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair or walkers.
Shower Seat Installation: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
A shower seat is a comfortable place for a family member to safely shave or wash their feet. The shower seat also allows people who want to age at home the opportunity to still take a shower rather than a bath.
Hand-Held Showers: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
Install a hand-held showerhead in the bathroom. Ideally, a person aging at home should be able to reach the hand-held showerhead while they are seated. This could mean installing a secondary fixture in the shower.
Open Vanity: Major Bathroom Upgrades for Aging at Home
Another major upgrade is replacing an existing bathroom sink and vanity with an open design. Vanities exist which have drawers on one side, a sink in the middle, and support on other side. Rather than a traditional storage cabinet underneath the sink area, there is an open space, making it easier for a person in a wheelchair to use the sink. Another option is to install a wall-mounted sink. Storage will have to be built-in or found elsewhere in the bathroom.
ADA Accessibility Guidelines, http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), http://www.aarp.org
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), http://www.nahb.org