Senior Safety: How to Remodel Bathrooms for Seniors

Contractors installing an ADA-compliant toilet while working on a bathroom remodel for seniors

A fast-growing trend is seniors choosing to age in place and remain in their homes. That requires these homeowners to hire a contractor who specializes in bathroom remodels for seniors. 

10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each year, and by 2030, the last Boomer will enter retirement age. As these folks approach their more advanced years, they know now is the time to prepare their homes for aging in place.

That means it's time to begin looking into renovating these spaces. If you're a homeowner about to retire, this guide will help you determine your best options. 

Perhaps you're the designer hired to develop plans for these renovations. Whatever the reason you're here, these tips will help you with your bathroom remodel for seniors project. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Fifty million senior citizens live in the United States, and as they age, they require certain accommodations to use the bathroom safely and easily.
  • Seniors often struggle with mobility issues and require more room to maneuver their wheelchairs or walkers. That's why accessibility should be your top priority for a senior-friendly bathroom.
  • Smart Home technology is not only convenient, but it also adds an element of safety for seniors. By installing smart speakers in the bathroom, users can control lighting and even call for help.
  • A raised toilet can add up to 6" or more to a senior-friendly toilet's height, making it easier and safer for the elderly to use.
  • Aging in place doesn't always require subcontractors. Tips for designing a senior-friendly bathroom include placing non-slip mats, mounting grab bars and installing tension poles.

Why Seniors Are Choosing to Age in Place

More than 50 million seniors live in America, making up roughly 16% of the population. As these citizens continue in years, many opt not to sell their houses and relocate to smaller, more manageable homes. 

bar graph of the total number of senior citizens in the U.S.


That requires preparing those homes for residents to age in place. Reasons seniors are choosing this route include:

  • It encourages independence
  • Promotes safety (as seniors are more familiar with the surroundings)
  • Retains privacy (and dignity)
  • Saves money
  • Strengthens family bonds

Understandably, not every senior citizen can age in place and remain in their home. However, those fortunate enough to be able to do so will need to prepare their homes with senior-friendly designs and layouts. 

Senior-Friendly Bathroom Design Must-Haves  

A senior-friendly bathroom remodel will incorporate elements designed to make using the space easier for elderly residents, placing safety first. Whether you are looking to make the room more wheelchair accessible or offer improved lighting to help users see better, there are numerous ways you can improve the safety of seniors in the bathroom. If you're looking to design a safe and functional space for seniors, consider these bathroom remodel must-haves:

1. Plan for Accessibility  

Seniors often struggle with mobility issues. Many are in wheelchairs and require more room to maneuver their wheelchair or walker. 

Part of designing an ADA-compliant bathroom for the elderly is to ensure enough space throughout the room. That way, someone with mobility issues or other disabilities can use the bathroom with ease and comfort. 

Incorporate accessible storage elements into your senior-friendly bathroom design for grooming products and towels. That will ensure the senior person using the bathroom can reach everything they need. 

One way to ensure accessibility is to install an open shower system, so the user doesn't have to step over anything to get into the showerWalk-in bathtubs are also ideal for senior-friendly bathrooms, especially for seniors who prefer bathing or cannot shower.  

2. Heated Seats   

Older adults tend to feel colder than younger folks, especially after showering or bathing. Installing toilets with heated seats will help elderly residents warm up while using the bathroom.   

3. Hands-Free Fixtures  

When mobility is an issue, reaching to flush the toilet or turn on the faucet creates hazards for older adults. By installing touchless flush plates, automatic soap dispensers, and hands-free faucets, you create a safe restroom experience for seniors using the facilities. 

4. Install Smart Restroom Technologies    

Smart home technology has not only brought convenience. It also incorporates a level of safety in the home of a senior resident in a manner only previously available through subscription services like Life Alert.

Install a voice-activated Smart Home system in the bathroom that anyone can use to call for help in an emergency or simply request the lights brighten to avoid slip and fall hazards. Not every emergency requires medical personnel but knowing your senior can access help with the power of their voice is priceless. 

5. Raised Toilets   

Install a raised toilet set to the height most suitable for the user. Standard toilet heights are between 15" to 16" from the floor to the top of the seat. A raised toilet is as high as 19" to 21" tall, making it easier for the user to get on and off the commode. Also, consider installing a toilet with a larger seat for added comfort.

chart of a standard toilet size

Tips for Creating a Senior-Friendly Bathroom for Those Aging in Place  

Aging in place requires preparation. Whether a client has hired you to design a senior-friendly bathroom or you want to get your home ready for living out your retirement years, not everything you can do will require hiring a subcontractor. Here are some suggestions on ways to improve the safety of a senior's bathroom that you can do yourself without hiring additional help to install them:

  • Place non-slip bathroom mats
  • Install grab bars
  • Mount a tension pole
  • Invest in proper lighting
  • Connect a showerhead with hand sprayer
  • Purchase a shower seat

Design Your Ideal Senior-Friendly Bathroom with Help from Geberit  

At Geberit, we specialize in concealed cisterns and wall-hung toilets. The best part about our plumbing systems is that you can set the toilet height to whatever is most suitable for the ones using the bathroom. We also specialize in remote flush plates, so your senior resident doesn't have to strain or reach to flush the toilet. 

Set it to flush automatically after each use or install the remote actuator in a place convenient for anyone to reach. Design your next bathroom remodel for seniors that is stylish and functional. Opt for plumbing products designed with every user in mind.

Working on a bathroom remodel project for seniors and need some ideas? Check out our Know-How for the Pros page.