As the new year gets underway, many people look back at their to-do lists to see which home renovation projects haven’t yet been completed.
Couple that with January being National Bathroom Safety Month and it seems like now’s the perfect time to assess your bathroom’s safety while taking care of some outstanding projects.
As you look to update or remodel, whether it’s professionally or on your own, be sure to keep safety in mind, not just design.
Fix Anything That’s Broken
First, the simple stuff. Take a look around your bathroom for items that need fixing. Maybe some tiles have chipped leaving sharp edges or some towel racks have loosened and could easily fall if leaned on. Or how about that shower door or curtain that leaks and causes the floor to get soaked and slippery? Don’t forget that transition strip of flooring in between your bathroom and the adjoining room that may have gotten loose over time. If anything is a safety hazard, then it’s worth getting fixed.
Make Easy, Safety-Enhancing Updates
Next on your list should be new items you can add to your bathroom to enhance its safety. Consider installing grab bars to help with tub and shower access, as well as handles for leverage near the toilet. Many are ADA compliant and can go a long way in providing stability and independence for anyone with mobility issues. Other relatively simple, safety-boosting features include adding non-slip mats or strips to the bottom of your shower or tub, putting a night light with a darkness sensor in your bathroom, mounting a seat or bench in your bathtub, and purchasing a toilet seat extender to inexpensively increase overall height.
Renovate for Overall Accessibility
Finally, take your bathroom to the next level of safety by learning about more in-depth renovation options. While overall room modifications may not be needed now, consider making changes that may increase safety and accessibility for you and your family down the road. An in-home safety consultation is a great way to get help with assessing your current living space and determining what updates can be made to enhance accessibility throughout your home. Many bathrooms, especially in older homes, have narrow door frames. Widening the doorway to allow adequate room for walkers and wheelchairs is an important option to consider when remodeling and may lead to extended time and comfort in one’s own home. Similarly, ensuring that ample space exists between the tub, toilet and sink allows better maneuverability for anyone using a walker or wheelchair. Updating electrical wiring and lighting to allow for a light switch right inside the bathroom door and bright light throughout the entire room may be something to think about. These are just a few of the possibilities. An in-home evaluation is an important first step in reaching out for professional advice, and can be invaluable when it comes to safety and design.