In the final of a three-part series on how building pros can help their clients gracefully age in place, we define specific kitchen and bath products that meet the practical and aesthetic needs of Universal Design.
Read more about the value and necessity of creating living spaces that can adapt to aging homeowners in Part I of this series, and the difference between ADA compliance and simply meeting ADA standards in Part II.
Get a Grip
Installing grab bars
to help prevent falls doesn’t have to give your client’s shower an industrial, cold vibe. Today’s stylish options are designed to match the décor of their home, from contemporary to transitional to traditional.
Make features already in place in your client’s bathroom work overtime. Assist bars incorporated into everyday fixtures like towel holders, toilet tissue holders or shower shelves are an easy way to add safety without sacrificing style. ADA guidelines state grab bars should be able to hold up to 250 lbs., so make sure they’re anchored properly.
Among the Seven Principles of Universal Design are “Simple and Intuitive Use” and “Low Physical Effort.” Achieve both by adding a hands-free
or touch-activated faucet
, which can be used by anyone, regardless of age or ability. Some hands-free products use capacitance technology (instead of infrared) to activate the water flow, so your clients won’t have to struggle to find the “sweet spot” associated with other faucet sensing technologies.
are great for accommodating users with differing heights and can be used to help bathe children, pets or someone who needs assistance. Yet many models have wands that may be difficult to grip for someone with limited hand function. Try a palm-held model with rubberized grips to give your clients an even handier shower experience.
Keep it Cool
Help your clients avoid scalding from too-hot water with temperature-sensing options
that show the temperature of the water via a digital color indicator. Some hand showers feature sensor technology that turns from blue to magenta to red to indicate cold, warm, and hot water, letting users know at a glance when the water is safe and comfortable.