Senior Living Trend Watch: The Evolution of Bathroom Design

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 01 May 2012

Senior living providers are paying attention to bathroom design, and the focus is not on integrating modern colors and updated textiles. According to Trends in Senior Living, a new report shared by Thomas M. Lee of The Fox Group (California-based healthcare consultants and long term care industry experts), bathrooms in senior living communities of the future “must address reduced independence.”

Two statistics shared in the piece support this focus: 72 percent of residents require assistance with bathing, and 36 percent need help with toileting, be it transferring, continence care, etc. Lee recommends the consideration of the following features: single lever faucets, grab bars (especially near toilets and in tubs/showers), walk-in tubs with doors that open out, raised toilet seats or taller toilets, built-in shower seats, and finally, zero threshold shower units.

Even for seniors aging in place at home, bathroom safety and accessibility should be a top priority for caregivers. Besides the numbers in Lee’s report, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that nearly one-third of adults over 65 who suffered a fall or injury in the bathroom were eventually diagnosed with fractures; among those over the age of 85, 38 percent were hospitalized.


There are 5 Comments about this post

  1. Michelle,

    There is ample data to support your admonition to caregivers about bathroom safety. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80% of the falls at home involving adults over 65, occur in the bathroom. In addition, 55% of those that fall will fall again within six months. The effects of a fall can be devastating both mentally and physically and can lead to a rapid decline in functionality in an older adult. Consequently, it is vital that bathroom safety begin at home and carry over to senior living settings.

    The senior living industry will continue to see an increase in frail seniors, especially with the movement towards aging at home. Design characteristics such as the ones you quote in your post are essential elements in senior living projects.

    Thank you for calling attention to this incredibly important issue.


    on 01 May 2012 / 9:46 PM

  2. Craig, you’re absolutely right. I’m sure there is ample anecdotal evidence too…my sister had to get stitches as a toddler because she slipped and fell in the tub, so it’s not just an age-related risk either!
    But to your point about the devastating effects of a fall (mentally/physically), leading to a decline in independence, YES. You’re absolutely right. We don’t often realize how independence in the home/elsewhere is so closely tied to bathroom safety!
    You’re right, and you’re welcome. I was glad to find The Fox Group’s piece, which enlightened me to the issue too!


    on 02 May 2012 / 10:05 AM

  3. And thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments. We appreciate your support, Craig!


    on 02 May 2012 / 10:06 AM

  4. Dawn Grafton says,

    You are absoltely right! These types of modifications in the bath room not only provide saftey, it increases the confidence in the user, that they will be able to take care of their own personal needs.


    on 17 May 2012 / 9:14 AM

  5. Yes indeed, Dawn. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by the blog!


    on 17 May 2012 / 9:55 AM


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