Making the bathroom safer is key to aging in place
With rising mortgage rates, climbing house prices, and dwindling numbers of available housing, homeowners understand the grass may be greener on their side of the fence after all. While many remodeling efforts concentrate on updating the style or design of the home, a new wave of renovations concentrate on preparing for the golden years.
“More and more people want to stay in their home, want to age in place,” Duane Underwood, owner of Luxury Bath of Washington and Oregon, said. “It’s all fixed up the way they want it. They don’t want to spend more money looking for a home they have to fix up all over again.”
There is a lot to consider when remodeling for the twilight years. Mobility issues are always a concern when aging, so floorplans may need to be altered for ease of movement with a walker or even a wheelchair. There are entire design plans for altering kitchens to make them more accessible for seniors as well.
The most important alterations, though, occur in the bathroom. Luxury Bath of Washington and Oregon specializes in giving a homeowner a stylish – and safe – bathroom in as little as two days. It doesn’t matter if the homeowner wants to remodel for the future or just wants a brand new look for their bathroom.
“It’s the smallest room in the house, but it’s the most dangerous too,” Underwood said. “Statistically, 75 percent of all accidents are from slips, falls, and electrocutions in the bathroom. The bathroom is a place where you want to feel safe no matter how old you are.”
When remodeling a bathroom, homeowners often think about colors, style, and design, but spend little time thinking about aging in place. Luxury Bath of Washington and Oregon make it a priority to discuss all matters when it comes to a bathroom remodel.
“There are so many things for customers to consider in a bathroom remodel,” Underwood said. “A footrest to make it easier for women to shave, or a folding or stationary seat. A lot of people want to sit down for safety, so there are hand held shower heads that they can turn on and off right where they’re sitting.”
With ADA retrofits gaining in popularity bathroom remodels, more contemporary design options means a new bathroom doesn’t have to look like a hospital.
“The nice thing about them is they are conveniences when you need them, but they aren’t an inconvenience when you don’t,” Underwood said. “With the modern look, you don’t have to have the old institutional grab bars. Everything is more streamlined, it’s not a one size fits all look anymore.”
As with any health issue, infection is always a concern. Bathrooms that aren’t regularly cleaned can be a haven for mold and mildew, which can adversely affect the health of older homeowners. Luxury Bath of Washington and Oregon has found a way to combat those fears, creating a product that cuts down on the amount of maintenance needed around the bathtub or shower.
“Another benefit to our wall systems is the addition of Microban,” Underwood said. “It doesn’t allow mold and mildew to grow in or on it and is infused in all of our tub and shower surrounds. It’s state of the art – the health industry has it everywhere. You also see it in clothing, like Under Armor and Reebok. It’s an added layer of cleanliness.”
Luxury Bath of Washington and Oregon tub and shower surrounds are made to fit specific areas. Instead of tile and grout, the surrounds are panels that need nothing more than adhesive to stay in place. Not only does this make it easier to keep clean, the installation is a quick process as well. If a sudden change in lifestyle occurs, a bathroom can be retrofitted in as little as two days.
“What makes us different is we’re able to get away from tile or other materials that have maintenance issues,” Underwood said. “In most cases, we’re able to come in and get out in two days. We do our best not to inconvenience anyone.”
Underwood has been in the remodeling business for more than 30 years and has seen trends come and go. He feels preparing for later in life is much more than a fad.
“There has been a change,” Underwood said. “First of all, you have to go back to aging in place because 10,000 people turn 65 every day. It’s a staggering number, and they don’t want to move. That wasn’t really a concern 10 years ago.”
With the Luxury Bath of Washington and Oregon Systems, Underwood is able to include ADA accessories in any bathroom remodel, with design options to make the bathroom fit the taste of the homeowner.
“You can go from mild to wild,” Underwood said. “You can start with the classic look of Italian marble and then add a pattern to make it look like tile. The technology has changed where you have that realistic stone look or different patterns with acrylic. So we can come and take the old system with the maintenance issues out and put in the new system that looks like tile and has a lifetime warranty. You can’t beat that.”
Homeowners looking to age in place have a lot to account for. Will the home being wheelchair accessible? Does a second floor master bedroom need to be moved to the main floor? Even something as simple as adding a ramp to the front door threshold could remove a tripping hazard.
The first design steps, however, should take place in the bathroom.
“The philosophy I always try to present to the homeowners is we make the complicated simple,” Underwood said. “We like to bring everything to you, we can see the shape, size, and lighting of your bathroom, bring samples, and we can make decisions right there. We want to put people’s minds at ease and make it as simple as we can.”