The ageing population, along with the number of older people choosing to stay in their own homes for financial reasons, means that the bathroom of the future must be able to cater to a wide range of needs. Here, Chris Tranter, senior product manager at Bristan, discusses solutions for future-proof bathrooms.
1. Wet rooms
In recent years, wet rooms have surged in popularity because of their accessibility and ease of use. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK bathroom market 1.
For many, wet rooms are very much a style, or comfort based choice. However, a major secondary advantage lies in the accessibility benefits, which are inherent in a level access open space, free of potential trip-hazards. In regards to multi-generational living, wet rooms conform perfectly to the bathroom design criteria set out by The Lifetime Homes Standard 2 , which means they are ideally suited to homes that currently do, or may one day, accommodate older residents with lower levels of mobility.
2. Future-proof showers
In terms of the shower itself, there are several factors to consider for multi-ability residencies, not least catering for potential visual and aural impairments, plus ensuring total safety throughout the showering experience.
For example, certain showers are endorsed by the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and specifically take into account the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities. These showers incorporate features such as large, easy to move dials for ease of use, raised markings, audible clicks when settings are adjusted and contrast back boxes for better visibility.
Within this group of specially designed showers, there are also models which have been developed specifically to blend into contemporary bathrooms, avoiding the drab aesthetics of accessible products of the past.
3. Shower seats
For properties that don’t have the space available for a wetroom, another addition that can be inclusive to all users, without detracting from style, is the shower seat.
Whilst shower seats have historically been associated purely with the needs of older generations, they are increasingly being installed as leisure items where users of all ages can luxuriate, or perform beauty routines. Furthermore, shower seats can still provide a welcoming atmosphere for residents, as designers have begun to develop more trend-conscious options.
For example, there are choices ranging from Scandinavian style pine benches to textured-tile models, with a selection of both in-built and free standing designs to suit the taste of every tenant.
As the UK population continues to evolve and change, the average household will only become more diverse. It is therefore imperative that developers adopt an all-inclusive approach and opt for products that are easy-to-use and suitable for people of varying capabilities.