More and more families are turning to multigenerational housing to bring grandparents closer to grandchildren, to combat the growing cost of living, and to increase the pool of childcare or even senior care resources. There is no limit to the benefits of bringing multiple generations together under one roof – the hardest part is meeting the comfort and safety needs of each unique individual.
The bathroom is sure to be the first room that demands modifications. High cabinets, low cabinets, medicine bottles and shampoo containers, adults and children interact with everyday bathroom objects in very different ways. This quick guide will help you organize and upgrade your bathroom to suit the needs of everybody who uses it.
Accessibility for Everyone
Some solutions are simpler than others. A locking medicine cabinet can keep small hands away from prescriptions, whereas the addition of a medium-height cabinet is recommended to provide equal toiletry access to everyone in the home. A removable commode bench can raise the height for family members who may have trouble standing from a seated position, and a small footstool can help young kids who face similar obstacles due to height.
Bathtub and shower accessibility is also a major point of contention among diverse age groups, and a little more difficult to address. Parents of young children know that a full bathtub is necessary for the little ones, while older adults may find those tub walls tough to step over.
Both of these concerns are entirely valid and that’s why we are always quick to suggest a one-size-fits-all solution: a walk-in bathtub with a watertight door. Any store that sells walk-in tubs will also carry conversion kits to turn your tub into a walk-in shower/bath combo. On the other hand, you might save money by simply installing bath lifts to help seniors in your family without actually changing the structure of your tub.
Timeless Safety Advice
Some modifications are applicable to every age group. Grab bars in the shower, for example, are equally helpful to family members who bathe as they are to family members who shower – even if you already have a walk-in tub or bath lift. Non-slip vinyl flooring is a huge advantage over beautiful but expensive and slippery tile. Bright lighting is always a must, with a switch near the doorway that everyone can reach. Nobody should have to rely on a dim nightlight to traverse a potentially slippery floor.
Even “quick fixes” like limiting the strength of hot water can make a huge difference. We are all capable of cracking up the heat a little too high, but children and anyone with limited wrist movement are the most at risk for an accidental burn after over-turning the knob at the sink or in the shower.
Do you need even more quick fixes for inspiration? Consider non-slip grips for shampoo bottles to reduce the risk of falling while bending to retrieve a fallen object. You might want to invest in foot scrubbers with long handles for the same balance-friendly reason. Your bathroom transformation may never end, depending on the evolving needs of your growing family.
Start getting excited! You do not have to jump in and make all of these modifications all at once. Creating home suited for a family that spans multiple generations will not be easy, but you might be surprised at the peace of mind a few simple modifications can bring.