By Savitha Hira
Five easy-to-incorporate bathroom alterations to convenience the senior members of your household without actually making any civil changes…
When members of the family are subject to ill health and old age, accommodating them becomes an additional task. Here are some cool clues on refurbishing your bathroom to suit the old/ ailing members of your family…
- Separate the dry area from wet – try to keep the bathroom dry: Often bathrooms are not segregated into distinct wet and dry areas and generally one does not bother to keep the bathroom dry at all times. However, a wet bathroom floor is perhaps the foremost hazard that should be guarded against where an old or ailing member is concerned. Hence, separate the two areas by adding a shower curtain in between if the space is less or by constructing a low-height brick partition – glass bricks are a good idea here as they serve the purpose without crowding the bathroom. Also, make sure that the bathroom is wiped clean and dry after bat, and the water dripping from the shower curtain is drained and wiped away.
- Add a handrail esp. near the loo: As a person grows ages or grows frail with illness, he requires support – to help him along alone with dignity and self-reliance. Add a handrail near the commode and along the wall too in case you have a large bathroom. Make sure that it is at a convenient height where the person can easily grip it for support while moving. This will also help the person to keep his clothes, towels etc., within easy reach.
- Some additional bathroom fittings: A few additional fittings like a hand shower, a similar equipment near the commode, an open shelf or shelves (depending on individual needs) at a convenient within-reach height on the wall and a few clothes hooks – also at a lower height, should be incorporated for the older member’s ease and convenience.
- Seating: Make sure you provide a normal height plastic stool or if your bathroom is large, create a stone bench cantilevered from the wall where the person can sit while having his bath or brushing his teeth. And please see that you do not add a floor mat or so to make things look prettier. There can be nothing worse than a senior member tripping and falling over on the hard floor of a bathroom.
- Lighting: Last but never the least; see that your bathroom is well lit both during the day and at night. If you do not have a night-light, make sure that you provide one. Preferably such that the person can leave it on all night. Fit in a PL tube - this will not only conserve electricity but will provide cooler and more intense light.
So, the next time, you feel irritable and inadequate about coping with the needs of your elders, try all or some of our cool clues and watch the magic at work. You will be showered with unlimited silent blessings, as your elders will feel emotionally stronger and able to cope better with their predicament with this absolutely essential help from you.
This feature was first published on the Design n Décor microsite of media portal www.rediff.com in 2002