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.