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Bathroom Upgrades And Your Elderly Parents: Which Improvements Can You Tackle Yourself?

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According to the American Association of Retired Persons, AARP, a reported 4.6 million elderly parents were living with their adult children, in 2011. If your elderly mother or father is planning to live in your spare bedroom, there are a lot of adjustments you will need to make to your lifestyle and home – including your bathroom. Upgrading the safety features of your bathroom is a great way to ensure your elderly parent doesn't suffer an unnecessary accident. Before you attempt to tackle a project in order to save money, it is important to know which jobs you can probably handle, and which you should leave to the professionals:

Jobs You Can Tackle On Your Own

Whether this is your first DIY project or you've been tackling jobs around your home for years, there are several upgrades you can handle on your own. Here are a few upgrades that will make your parent's bathroom much safer and easier to use:

  • Grab bars and safety rails – Installing safety rails and grab bars strategically throughout your bathroom will make using the toilet and taking a shower much easier. Installing bars next to the toilet and in the shower will take only a few minutes and can be accomplished with a kit, which is available at home improvement stores, and a screwdriver.
  • Comfort height toilet – Swapping out your existing toilet for a comfort height toilet can be accomplished in a single afternoon. Comfort height toilets are a few inches higher than standard toilets found in most bathrooms, which makes it easier for your parent to stand up from a seated position.
  • Bigger door knobs and handles – If your parents are suffering from arthritis, or if they simply have trouble gripping smaller handles and door knobs, installing larger models will make their lives much easier and pain free. Ask your parent to visit the home improvement store with you and pick out knobs and handles they can easily use.
  • Motion sensors – Finally, if your parents visit the bathroom several times a night, installing motion detecting sensors on the light fixtures is a great way to prevent an injury. These sensors are inexpensive and can easily be installed by the homeowner.

In addition to these above-mentioned ideas, there are other low cost ways to make your parent's bathroom safer. For example, replace your existing rubs with rubber mats, which will help prevent a slip and fall accident.

Leave These Upgrades to the Professionals

Even if you consider yourself an amateur handyman, there are still several upgrades that you should leave to the professionals. Here are a few:

  • Lose the slippery flooring – Your marble or travertine floors might look expensive, but they are also very slippery, especially when covered with the overspray from your shower. Instead, ask your contractor about non-slip flooring options. There is flooring that is specifically manufactured for use in the bathroom, and these non-slip options will help ensure your parents don't needlessly injure themselves getting in and out of the tub.
  • Consider a walk-in tub – If your elderly parents have suffered a stroke, have mobility issues or simply find it difficult to get in and out of the bathtub, consider installing a walk-in tub from a place like Twin City Stair Lifts. In addition to being much safer and more convenient, walk-in tubs can allow your parents with the freedom and dignity of being able to bathe themselves without any assistance.

If you choose a walk-in tub, ask your contractor about the various features available, such as heated seats and hydrotherapy.

Living with your elderly parents can be a huge adjustment – especially if you need to remodel a bathroom to meet their specific needs. However, before you assume it will cost a small fortune, remember there are several upgrades and improvements you can tackle yourself.