Senior Living: Senior-friendly bathrooms

Q. I am remodeling my bathroom and need suggestions as to how to make it senior-friendly, since I hope to stay in my home.

You are very wise to be considering this now, while you are still healthy and hardy.

If you have a stall shower, have the lip at the entrance made as low as possible to facilitate an easy entrance. Have a hand-held shower nozzle installed. Be sure there is enough room in the shower to allow for a shower chair.

When selecting a toilet, opt for a "comfort-height" one. It will be easier to use should you develop knee or hip problems. A taller vanity or sink will reduce the amount of bending necessary to brush your teeth, and thus be easier on your back.

If possible, allow room for a walker to be used in the bathroom. Install grab bars by the toilet and in the shower, or at least plan for where they will need to be installed in the future. Allow for storage of essentials so as to eliminate clutter.

Whether or not you're remodeling, make sure the water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.

As always, the goal is to prevent accidents from happening, rather than deal with the consequences afterwards.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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