An increasing number of American families are once again living with multiple generations under one roof, and that can present some challenges when it's time to make sure important spaces like the bathroom work for everyone.
A well-designed bathroom for the whole family goes beyond beauty and storage solutions to incorporate generational functionality so your bathroom serves your family for years.
- Grab bars - Gone are the days of conspicuous pieces that don't blend in with shower and tub fixtures. Instead, grab bars are available in a number of finishes and lengths designed to match whole collections of bathroom fixtures from high end manufacturers like Delta, Kohler and Moen. And, because grab bars are much more fashionable, you can position them out in the open near the toilet as well.
But, grab bars aren't just for older folks. Children are just as prone to slips and falls in the bathroom as their grandparents for the same reasons; slippery tub/shower bottoms and lack of balance getting into and out of the shower. Adding grab bars to your bathtub or shower keeps kids of all ages safe.
- Fold-down seat or bench in the shower - Incorporating a seat can be as easy as affixing a fold-down version to the shower wall or by designing a bench at one end of a walk-in shower.
Incorporating a folding seat or a built-in bench as a design element gives the older adults in your family confidence in their ability to care for themselves but remains unobtrusive enough to not interfere with the style theme of your bathroom.
- Flooring - The right flooring in a tub or shower should be non-slip. Alcove tubs typically come with some type of ripple effect or texture on the bottom of the bathtub for sure footing. Tiled flooring in a tumbled river rock or textured stone can be a great alternative, or choose a shower pan with a textured bottom. For the rest of the bathroom, any tile flooring should also have a texture to prevent slips and falls.
- Lighting - Layering your lighting in the bathroom is really no different than how you light up other common areas in your home; you'll still need both ambient and task lighting to make sure everyone puts their best face forward every day.
Your vanity light will most likely act as your ambient, or general, light, providing overall illumination for the room. Sconces on either side of each vanity mirror is task lighting that eliminates shadows during life's most important tasks.
In the bathtub/shower area, recessed lighting that shines directly down into the shower is the best bet, but doesn't necessarily have to be in the center of the space. One at either end will work best. Choose a wet-listed LED recessed can for bright light that lasts for years.
- Taller toilets - commonly known as comfort height - are two to three inches taller than traditional toilets, which can make a huge difference when it comes to independence. Sitting down and rising is easier when the toilet seat is 16 to 17 inches above the height of the floor instead of 14 to 15 inches.
For kids who are potty training, a taller toilet won't offer much more of a challenge than a standard-height fixture, but to help decrease messes, Delta offers the Sanborne LED potty training night light toilet seat. This seat has built-in potty training seat so parents no longer have to worry about a separate ring and/or a plastic training toilet that needs to be washed out. When toddlers aren't using the bathroom, the seat lifts up and out of the way for adults and is completely removable once potty training is done.
- Handheld shower - Great for rinsing soap off of every member of the family, a handheld shower is also a great safety feature because of its flexibility. When positioned on a slide bar, it can be easily be moved to accommodate the height of the person taking a shower. And, because its detachable from the slide bar, older adults can aim spray where they need it instead of moving around and risking a fall.
More, a handheld shower can also mean easier cleaning because you can spray away cleaner, soap scum and hard water deposits instead of cleaning, wiping and rinsing.