Bathroom adaptations for the elderly - Why a safe bathroom environment is essential as we get older.

According to a HSE report, 30% or approximately 130,000 people aged 65 and over fall each year in Ireland with about 26,000 of these falls being categorised as serious resulting in hospitalisation and rehabilitation. For the individual, the effect on confidence and independence is immeasurable, for the health service, the cost of treatment following a fall is a significant burden to our health budgets. 

 

One of the most common areas that falls and accidents occur is in the bathroom . Ensuring that the bathroom is safe and user friendly space is key aspect to ageing at home for longer and maintaining a level of independence in older age . A well designed and functional bathroom is essential to preventing falls and maintaining independence for older people .

 

As more and more Irish senior adults are planning to age at home there is a growing demand for services and products related to the bathroom modification . In this article we take a look the process of having your bathroom adapted and offer some advice on the steps and what you should be looking for as a desired out come

Bathroom adaptation should be a part of a general home renovation

In our experience that majority of bathroom adaptations in Ireland happen as a result of an accident or near miss. None of us like to consider that we are getting older and in many instances we put off things like this until something happens. However as we get older we tend to make minor adjustments and renevotaion to areas of the house such as .

 

Planning to age safely at home is not something we have been thought to consider but with many of us renovating aspects of our house on a regular occasion we ask the question why not proactively choose the bathroom as an area to be renovated and futured proofed for safer independent bathing as you age  ?  

Design and layout of the modern adapted bathroom for safer bathing

One of the biggest obstacles when considering a bathroom modification is that many perceive that the bathroom will look medical or will take from the decor of the home . Objections like “I dont want my bathroom to look like a disabled bathroom” or “ i dont want my bathroom to look like a hospital bathroom”  . These objections are completely understandable but we believe that these perceptions dont reflect the incredible amount of choice and functionality now available to Irish Seniors.

There has be a significant amount of innovation in this sector and items like walk in bath tubs , level access showers , non slip tiles and even grab rails have all evolved . These new products are designed to be easier and safer to use and reduce the incidents of accidents as much as possible. At ageing in place we encourage that you get involved in the re-design process and look at all the options and styles . You can get functionality with style and there are a number of solutions now available. 

How much does a bathroom adaptation for elderly cost ?

The cost of having your bathroom adapted for safer independent senior living can vary and there is no set answer to this question. However in our experience a good price range would be between € 3,000 and €8000. In some cases the ake your budget into account and talk you through appropriate options. 

A means tested bathroom adaptation grant for the elderly is available and you can get up to €6000 in grant supports to help you with the proposed works. These grant schemes are run by the department of housing in conjunction with your local authority. You can check your eligibility and or download you home adaptation grant application form on our grants checklist page 

Get advice from trained bathroom adaptation professionals

The process of having your bathroom adapted can seem daunting . You want to make the right adjustments but you also want the work to be done to a high standard and look well . When considering the redesign of a any aspect of your home you will want to work experienced professionals . 

The bathroom adaptation for elderly sector is a specialist bussines and involves 2 main stakeholders . Firstly the bathroom adaptation companies . In all cases having a bathroom contractor who spcialise in bathroom adaptations for the elderly visit your home is a free and no obligation process . They can advise and create proposed designs and drawings based on your needs . 

Secondly we recommend that you consider discussing the idea and proposal of a bathroom adaptation with occupational therapist . An occupational therapist can play a key role in identifying risks and design that either you or the bathroom contractor may not have considered. Occupational therapists provide a valuable perspective to  home owners and contractors during the home adaptation process . At OT consultation will normally cost approx. €200 and they will provide you with a report based on your specific needs . You can look up the register of occupational therapists on the AOTI website or you can arrange through this page also

Summary

A slip or fall in the bathroom can have life altering consequences and can be particularity difficulft for us as we age . Having your bathroom adapted or renovated to meet your requirements as you age is a great way of preventing unessary accidents and enabling you live independentyly in your home for longer.

 

As more and more Irish seniors now plan on ageing in place we believe that having your bathroom assessed and if necessary adapted especially given that some grant supports exist is a major step in ensuring that you stay in the home you love . 

About ageinginplace.ie: Ageing in place is a new digital platform that aims to provide clear and accurate information about the products, services and financial supports that are available to enable barrier free and independent living in your own home.

The portal is designed to give you easy access to all the information you need in one place to enable you to evaluate your options, check your eligibility for grant supports and should you wish to contact contractors in your local area. 

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