How to Design a Safe and Accessible Bathroom for the Elderly’s Convenience

28 February 2020

Sharing a home with elderly loved ones might require certain special requirements, but ensuring their safety and accessibility will definitely outweigh all minor concerns. For instance in your bathroom, in order for them to use it easily and with dignity, you must consider a design that is both safe and accessible for their convenience. Below are ways on how you can do so.

Proper Bathroom Dimensions

It is critical that the dimensions of the bathroom accommodate the needs, existing and potential, of the older adult in your life. Start with the door. It should be a minimum of 86 centimetres wide to accommodate a wheelchair. Instead of doorknobs, install levers. A sliding door can also be a stylish and accessible alternative to a regular door. You must also abide by the 1.5m turning radius. Electric wheelchairs do turn more easily, so if you don’t have the space, you can sometimes make do with less than a 5-foot turning radius. Under the sink, leave 69cm of clearance to make room for a wheelchair. Keep the top of the sink between 81 and 86 centimetres from the floor. Don’t forget to hang the mirror low enough for visibility, and tilt it from the top.

Threshold-Free Shower

A zero-threshold shower is a shower that has no curb; meaning, a wheelchair or walker can easily slide into the shower. This type of shower doesn’t always need a door, as the floor slopes down to the drain. You can also have trench drains installed around the perimeter of the shower to keep water inside the shower area. Consider installing a built-in seat for easier showering, or find a portable bath chair. And no matter the type of shower is, a non-slip floor is crucial. This can be stylish with textured tile, or even a slatted wood tray positioned over a concrete floor. Consider installing a hand-held shower head for easier cleansing control. Install controls at a level that can be easily reached by a person in a wheelchair. In addition, protect your older adult from burns by installing anti-scald mixing valves. This will keep the temperature safe when water pressure changes during a shower.

Grab Bars

Grab bars can be the last-minute save in a dangerous situation, and they can also help seniors more confidently move throughout the bathroom. Install grab bars in several locations wherein it is necessary. You can place two bars on the sidewall of a tub within standing and sitting ranges. You also need to put grab bars on all three walls in a shower and place controls if possible. Another necessary location is one next to the toilet.


If possible, a bidet can be helpful for many elderly. Make things easier and safer, while providing dignity, by placing support bars on the outside of the toilet. In addition, install a toilet that is 43 cm off the floor.

Avail of the safe and accessible bathroom designs for your elderly from New Life Bathrooms. We are fully-licensed bathroom renovation experts that only use top quality trades to complete your new bathrooms. All materials used in the manufacture of our bathrooms will be of premier quality and with approved building standards, and all carry an individual manufacturer’s guarantee.