Things to consider when designing a bathroom for the elderly or disabled

January 22, 2022

When designing a bathroom for the elderly or disabled, there are several considerations that need to be made. It’s essential to understand how the design can impact their overall experience and how it can help improve their quality of life.

In order to make this possible, we need to understand some of the special challenges faced by older people in the bathroom setting. The following are some of the most common difficulties faced by older people when using the bathroom.

● Men with prostate disease have a hard time going to the toilet because they may be unable to stand up from their sitting position due to swelling in their legs or other physical limitations;

● Elders with arthritis often find it difficult to sit on a traditional toilet seat because of the pinching effect created by its edges;

● Older people often find it hard to reach up onto high shelves or down into cabinets where they put things like towels and soap;

● Older people often suffer from decreased mobility and muscle strength.

With those in mind, the key to designing a bathroom for the elderly or disabled is to keep it simple and comfortable. Below are some tips on making a bathroom safe and functional for everyone.


Installing grab bars, widening the door frame and making shower and tub wheelchair-accessible are the most important things. Ensure there’s enough space too if they need a helper/caregiver. Similarly, toilets should be low enough so that they can sit on them from a wheelchair but not so low that they require someone else's assistance (a 30-inch seat will work for most people).

Use lever handles instead of knobs too and an overhead showerhead instead of a fixed showerhead that requires balance and strength.

Bathroom Safety

Take away anything that can cause a problem. Make sure the bathroom has a non-slip floor or anti-slip mat to prevent falls. Install grab bars around the toilet and shower area to use for stabilization and for extra safety precaution.

Lighting and Design Patterns

The look of a bathroom is important as well. Design patterns with bright colors and large prints can be overwhelming when dealing with limited vision or mobility issues. Instead, consider more neutral tones with soft, subtle patterns that won't make the room feel smaller than it really is. Make sure the bathroom is well lit at all times too to prevent difficulty in navigating.

Incorporate features that promote independence

When making changes to the bathroom, try to include features that promote independence. Cabinets should be placed at counter height (30 inches) to make it easier for the elderly to access them. Make sure to include ample storage space too for personal items such as medication and grooming products.

If you are worried sick about what to do with your elderly parents or grandparents when they get in and out of the bathroom, don’t worry, because we’re here to solve such problems. Our main focus is to create bathrooms that can be enjoyed by everybody, without missing out on any of the important features! Get in touch with us today and receive a free instant quotation. We look forward to transforming your space!