Interiors | 8 July 2015Universal Design for Bathrooms Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Universal design for bathrooms: A major concern for many of us is how to care for aging parents and how to prepare for our own aging. When planning a major bathroom remodel, it makes a great deal of sense to think about accessibility, universal design standards, and aging in place. And why not? With a little extra forethought it is easy to integrate simple fixes into a new bathroom. Plus, few of us want to leave a home that we have spent years making into the perfect abode just because we can’t bend our arthritic knees to step into the tub shower. Source – Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Bathrooms The good news is that bathroom elements that meet the mandates of Universal Design are continually being refined by manufacturers as they respond to legislation such as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the needs of an aging population. Design style is inevitably a part of the process. Utilitarian features such as grab bars are increasingly crafted with stunning looks and finishes that make them easy to integrate into even the most sophisticated bathroom style. Accessibility has become a key issue not only in the codes that regulate residential bathroom construction, but with almost every feature designed for bathrooms. From toilets to faucets to lighting and beyond, manufacturers are responding to an aging population and the need to accommodate all potential users of a home’s bathroom. Who said accessibility needs to be institutional in appearance? This beautiful shower is roll-in ready. Multiple showerheads and a hand-held variable height shower wand make for a luxurious experience for all users. Source – Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Bathrooms Designing bathrooms to accommodate the needs of any individual—including those with mobility limitations and even the severely disabled—is at the heart of what is known as “Universal Design.” The term was coined by disabled architect Ronald Mace. The goal? In Mace’s words, “The design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” In practice, that translates to turnkey fixtures that work for able?bodied individuals and those who use a wheelchair or walker alike. More recently, a focus has been placed on accommodating the 78 million baby boomers who are rapidly aging. Studies show that these people want to stay in their homes and remain independent as long as possible. The Aging?in?Place movement has sprung up to facilitate that and to set guidelines for bathroom design specifically to suit elderly users. But in reality, Aging?in?Place is a subset of Universal Design and it is a difference largely without a distinction. If you take the steps outlined here, and select fixtures and features designed for maximum accessibility, your bathroom will be welcoming and user?friendly now and as you age, and for anyone who might need to use it. A sink without a vanity allows for wheelchair access. Source – Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Bathrooms Grab bars. The new rule for grab bars is “dual?purpose.” Towel racks, toilet paper holders, and bathroom shelving are all being crafted with integrated grab bars. Not only does this mean buying and installing one fixture in place of two, it means the grab bars are a blended part of the overall look of the bathroom. Even the grab bars used in bathtubs and showers are seeing style upgrades, with molded finger grips and the same selection of surface finishes that you’ll find in other fixtures, such as showerheads and faucets. Toilets. The key to making this essential fixture comfortable for every potential user lies in seat height. Manufacturers have come up with a multitude of solutions, including power?lift toilet seats, height adapters, higher?than?normal traditional toilets and those that can be adjusted, and wall?mounted toilets that can installed at any height. Grab bars are essential to assist movement on and off any toilet, so it’s fortunate that you can find attractive toilet paper holder–grab bar combinations. Faucets. The first step in making faucets accessible was the use of paddle handles and single handle faucets that could easily be manipulated by those lacking dexterity, hand strength, or motor skills. Nowadays, technology is aiding people with coordination and hand?strength difficulties in the form of motion?activated and touch?activated faucets. These make using the faucet as easy as moving a hand. They are also a breeze to install. Bathtubs. The standard bathtub?shower combination can be retrofitted to accommodate limited mobility users with the addition of special stools and hand?held showerheads with ergonomic grips. Better yet, consider replacing an existing tub with a walk?in model equipped with a door. These tubs typically have seats at chair height to make the transition into the tub easier. Many also feature jets and heaters to create a luxurious experience. When shopping for a walk?in tub, pay close attention to the contours of the seat and back support. These will be key to how comfortable and supportive the tub is over the course of a nice long soak. Choose a door style that best accommodates the user’s preference; available styles open in or out, up or down. The lower the threshold, the better, and the door handle should be easy for the intended user to operate. Other types of tubs can be made easier to use by locating the controls on the outside edge of the tub or tub deck. This allows the user to fill the tub without leaning over and possibly losing balance. Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Bathrooms, Updated 4th Edition Design * Update * Remodel * Improve * Do It Yourself Editors of Cool Springs Press From inspiration to design advice with crystal-clear how-to instructions, BLACK + DECKER Complete Guide to Bathrooms is the only book you need to achieve the bathroom of your dreams. This brand-new edition of a perennial bestseller from the BLACK + DECKER Complete Guide series is just the book you need if you want to improve, update, or remodel your bathroom. From a simple freshening of the decor to a down-to-the-studs remodel, all of the information you need to design the job and do the work yourself is right here. Through step-by-step photography and instructions, you’ll see how to update lighting, ventilation, flooring, surfaces, cabinetry, toilets, bathtubs, and accessories. The comprehensive buyer’s guide takes you through one of the most important steps in any remodeling project, and a complete section on bathroom design provides education and inspiration. As a bonus, this new edition of Black + Decker The Complete Guide to Bathrooms includes a chapter explaining how to remodel or reimagine your bathroom to better meet the needs of aging in place, with projects that conform to Universal Design Standards. You’ll see a start-to-finish demonstration on how to replace a shower or tub with a curbless shower stall. To maximize access, a wall-mounted sink is hung and hooked up – and you see every step. Replace a traditional bathroom sink faucet with a hands-free model so you can turn on the water even if you can’t reach all the way to the faucet handle. Buy from an Online Retailer Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.