When my father in law suffered a stroke, he was in hospital for some time. After physiotherapy he started to get on his feet but he was very unsteady. I was left with the task of adapting his home. To be honest I didn’t know where to start. I was concerned about the kinds of changes he would need now but also in the future. After all, it was his home and I wanted him to be comfortable but also realise that it needed to be adapted to his needs.
Of course the question did arise as to whether he should remain living at home instead of transitioning into a nursing home. He wanted to hold on to his independence as long as possible so I set about learning about the changes I needed to make to get him home from hospital.
The main thing for him was the bathroom. It was a small room and only space for a small bath, sink and toilet. We didn’t have enough money to knock the bathroom through to the back room and make it bigger so I had to consider other options. The options I had to think about were to have a battery powered bath lift or change it to a wet room style shower.
Another option I had to consider was I didn’t want my father in law risking falling or sleeping getting in to our out of the bath. So I decided to look at a variety of options. If you visit Bathing Solutions you will see what I mean. In order to achieve the goal of allowing my father in law to stay at home I looked at a variety of options from the Walk-in baths, to walk-in showers.
The most important thing to bear in mind if you are considering renovating a bathroom for older people is their safety.
Below are some ideas to consider if you are renovating a bathroom for an older relative based on my experience:
1. Bath or shower – We opted for a walk in bath as we were limited in space but because they have a bath which is for small rooms and my father in law really enjoyed being in water, it relaxed him. Also the walk in baths come with a whole host of safety features including grab bars and a door that opens easily to get in and out of and locks to ensure no water escapes. It also has a seat built in as well as non-slip floor. All walk-in baths are lower to the ground, which makes entering and exiting the tub so easy. Make sure to browse different options from baths and showers to get the best deal and the most features. Consider what you need when purchasing and what your relative prefers. This made the decision easier for us.
2. Toilet – Installing a new toilet is another option and you may want to get one that is chair height. We opted instead for a special lift chair with handles which assists in the lifting and lowering of someone on to the toilet.
3. Non-slip flooring – It is extremely important to consider flooring. You can either opt for bath rugs which have a non-skid feature on the bottom or you can replace the flooring altogether. we opted for replacing the flooring as it was such a small room anyway. It is important to consider your budget at the outset to make sure you have enough for what you want to do.
4. Height adjustments – Something else to consider is lowering the sink unit, the towel rail and other items to ensure ease of access. We have to lower some items others we just removed from the room completely as they weren’t going to be used.
5. Providing extra safety – Installing grab bars through the bathroom was something we had to do. In fact we had to do it throughout the house to ensure my father in law felt safe. We also installed an alert system in the bathroom that should he fall he can press the alarm to ensure someone can come out and help him. It was a really useful thing to have installed and came to be a live saver on more than one occasion.
6. Light fixtures – Lighting was something that we didn’t think aboutuntil the last minute. We had to install brighter bulbs to eliminate shadows and ensure all areas of the room was lit. This also helps prevent falls.
These are just some of the ways that we renovated the bahtroom for my father in law. I hope that the above gives you some ideas to get started in the bathroom. Start off with a budget after doing your research and take in to account the needs of your elderly relative too. Although we spent most of our budget on the bathroom, you will want to consider modifications to other rooms too ensuring your relative is as safe as they can be in their own home.