Aging In Place Shower Remodel

image of curb-less shower and grab bar

Aging in Place is a term you hear more and more these days. Wikipedia defines Aging in Place “as the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

One of the biggest threats to older adults is that of falling. Lack of support in a shower, obstructions and loose stair railings are all examples of things that we look for when remodeling for older clients. Increasingly most adults prefer to have the option to Age in Place, safely and comfortably.

Elements that should be considered when doing an Aging in Place remodel,  include lighting with accessible switches, dimmers, grab bars in showers, accessible faucet controls, curb-less shower stalls, non-skid flooring, wider doors, chair ramps, wheel chair accessible counters and cabinets. 

A Home In Need Of A Remodel

Image of dark wood vanity and sink

We recently did a remodel on a house which is owned by a 91 year old named Jean. She decided to fix her house up so that she can live out the rest of her days in the home that she and her husband built in 1965.

Jean and her husband raised four kids in the house. Her adopted son, Bob, owns a fitness gym and Jean works the front desk part time. She also works out at the gym which explains why she is so flexible and energetic. I was amazed at how she could touch her toes from standing straight up and then bending over like my 5 year old daughter does in gymnastics.

Designer – Remodeler Collaboration

It was a fortunate coincidence that Sherrie Lynn Harris (SLH Designs) was her neighbor. I have known Sherrie for 12+ years and have worked with her on other remodel projects in the past. We ended up collaborating on the bathroom and kitchen project for Jean.

Sherrie created a floor plan, and then took Jean shopping for the tile, vanity, toilet, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and accessories. Jean said that the bathroom that Sherrie designed was exactly what she wanted and that when she is in the bathroom she feels like she is “on vacation in a really nice hotel”. She also said that the tile design ‘makes the walls look like a waterfall”.

Before the remodel, Jean had to step down into a sunken shower. Jean said that it was often cold in the winter, and the lighting was poor. There was a dated vanity with drawers that were difficult to pull out. There was some wall paper that was starting to peel off the walls, the shower had some mold and dry rot…You get the picture.

The overhead lighting was in an old soffit above the sink. There was a dated vanity with drawers that were difficult to pull out and the wall paper was starting to peel off the walls.

A Bathroom Fit For Jean

Image of a shower remodel for aging in placeAfter the remodel, the bathroom was completely different. It now has a curb- less shower with grab bars and a shower valve just inside the pony wall so that Jean doesn’t have to get wet when she turns on the shower and adjusts the temperature.

The updated lighting is on dimmer controls so that Jean can control exactly how much light she wants. Jean was very pleased with the Light / Fan / Heater that we installed. She said that the bathroom is “nice and warm now”. She also was very happy that the height of the vanity was just right for her and that the sconces were set at the perfect height for her to light her face clearly.

The toilet has been replaced with one which is higher and more user friendly.

What a joy it was to get to know Jean and help her restore and improve upon her home. I am so glad that we were able to give her a more comfortable and easy to use bathroom and kitchen.

Jean is probably the sweetest lady I have ever met. I asked her if she would adopt me as her grandson. She answered “Yes of course!”.

With this goal in mind we are noticing that a lot of our older customers are remodeling with aging in place in mind. All of these solutions we created for Jean are important to making a home more comfortable and livable as we grow older. Designing and remodeling for Aging in Place

I hope we can all live with such grace, health, and vitality. There is something very rewarding about doing a project that enhances peoples lives.