Bathroom Design: Stylish Solutions for Aging-In-Place

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Bathroom Design: Stylish Solutions for Aging-In-Place

There are many attractive options available for slide bars and grab bars, such as these from Kohler, that look absolutely nothing like something you might see in a hospital.

Some minor home remodeling and redecorating projects are typically considered to be quasi-disposable. While that color trend you jumped on last year is easily changed with a fresh a coat of paint, the choices we make with larger projects, such as kitchen and bath renovations, should stand the test of time, in both aesthetics and functionality.

Should you be contemplating remodeling your bathroom, perhaps because your nest has recently emptied and you now have the space for a larger, spa-like master bath, consider incorporating aging-in-place elements. With products geared specifically toward this, such as Kohler’s line of “full-access” fixtures, your beautiful new bath will accommodate your needs well into your golden years.

With a free-standing tub inside it, this walk-in shower is the ultimate in spa-like luxury. Look closely and you’ll see that it’s a zero-threshold shower. Clearly, there’s no need to sacrifice style for safety!

For many homeowners, walk-in showers have reached must-have status, and you may well be considering adding one in your new bath. If that’s the case, ask your builder or designer to make it a “zero threshold” one. This simply means that it has no lip – nothing to trip over or impede wheelchair access – and there plumbing items, such as easy-to-install ARC curb-less shower pans, designed with just this in mind.

A zero-threshold walk-in shower; photo courtesy of ERT Architects.

Take safety in the bath to the next level by incorporating a slide bar in the shower, which allows a handheld shower head to move up and down, and grab bars in or near the shower and tub, as well as the toilet.

There are many attractive options available for slide bars and grab bars, such as these from Kohler, that look absolutely nothing like something you might see in a hospital.

Your “aging-in-place” bathroom can also provide safety and comfort with Kohler’s revolutionary C3 toilet seat, which has a cleansing function that uses naturally soothing water as a refreshing, hygienic alternative to toilet tissue. A remote control allows you to easily adjust the water spray for position, temperature and oscillating or pulsating motion. Other features include a heated seat, front and rear wash modes that provide warm water, and LED lighting that illuminates the toilet bowl to serve as a built-in night light. Another option is the San Souci Comfort Height elongated toilet, with innovative AquaPiston technology, which reduces strain on the body, and makes sitting down and standing up easier for people of all ages.

The San Souci Comfort Height toilet (L), and Purist faucet; both are from Kohler.

Depending on your circumstances, a cantilevered vanity installed at two heights, such as this one from Robern, can be the ideal solution to serve people of different statures or seated users. The vanity can be finished with Purist Faucets with levers that do not require a firm grip for twisting, perfect for someone suffering from arthritis.

A cantilevered vanity from Robern; the right-hand side is at a lower level which can accommodate a wheelchair if necessary.

The final pieces of the puzzle are lighting and medicine cabinets. Robern offers items with designs that address aging-in-place concerns beautifully, such as medicine cabinets with adjustable shelves, and lockboxes to securely store medication. Robern’s adjustable Entice magnifying mirror can be a great addition to a medicine cabinet. Lighting options include medicine cabinets with built-in lighting that evenly bathes the entire mirror in clean, white light, and sleek sconces that can be positioned alongside mirrors.

It is a fact of life that we may need to make concessions as we age. Thankfully, sacrificing style for safety in your bathroom doesn’t need to be one of them.

All photos via Kohler unless otherwise noted.