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Bathrooms are potentially the most hazardous space in a home with slippery floors, sharp edges and uneven surfaces. With age and the deterioration of physiological and cognitive function, we only become more susceptible to accidents. In fact, according to researchers at Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal University, about 38 per cent of people over the age of 60 in India experience a fall; about 21 per cent of these happen in the bathroom. Wider doorways, unobstructed access to the WC, shower area and sink, demarcation of wet and dry spaces, accessible storage, soft close glides for cabinets and a minimal clutter-free approach are all ways to make your bathroom safer. In addition, Ketan Trivedi, senior general manager – marketing, H&R Johnson, shares his takeaways across key parameters.

  • Bathrooms must be free of obstacles.
  • Avoid sharp edges as far as possible to minimise risk of injury while moving around or if there is a fall.
  • Anti-skid tiles do not have a glossy texture unlike regular tiles and, hence, help prevent accidents. Tiles should not only be skid-resistant but also germ-free and stain-resistant for better hygiene and easier cleaning.
  • Install non-slip floor mats outside the shower area for drying your feet after a shower.
  • Toilet seats can be higher than normal for sitting and getting up more easily, thereby minimising the risk of tripping while using the toilet seat.
  • Avoid the use of tubs for bathing as far as possible as getting in and out of tubs with wet feet is a major source of bathroom falls.
  • Installing handrails is really helpful as you don’t have to worry about losing balance. The towel rod can be replaced with a handrail, which serves both purposes.
  • Having handheld showers besides overhead showers eliminates the need to stand on a wet and soapy floor while showering, making bathing safer.
  • Installing single-lever faucets can help reduce the twisting and turning of faucets.
  • The one-push flush with concealed cisterns is easy to operate with just a little finger push unlike traditional flush valves that need more pressure to be applied.
  • Place comfortable seating in front of the sink or shower for grooming purposes.
  • Germ-free sanitary-ware items are coated with silver ions that are safe to use, last for the lifetime of the product, and help maintain a much higher level of hygiene.

 SAFETY RAIL: Designed to help silvers with knee and lower body immobility issues, the frame is usually installed over or under the commode, with strong rails to help you raise and lower yourself. These are usually made of stainless steel but aluminium and plastic variants are also available. PRICE: ₹ 2,500 onwards

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 RAISED TOILET SEAT: This eases the process of getting on and off the toilet. Easy to install and low maintenance, these come with side clamps to hold them in place and are available for both Indian and western commodes. PRICE: ₹ 999 onwards

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 INDIAN CONVERSION COMMODE: Indian commodes require you to bend into a squatting position, which may be difficult for people with reduced physical strength and joint-related issues. This commode converter acts like a western commode and is easy to use. It is available in a range of styles: wall-mounted, foldable and as a chair with a cover. PRICE: ₹ 1,000 for the basic variant

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 SHOWER CHAIR: A comfortable option for silvers suffering from ailments like arthritis and severe backaches, these foldable chairs are made of stainless steel and can be fixed on the wall at a height best suited for the user. PRICE: ₹ 4,000 onwards; a four-legged, broad-back and height-adjustable alternative is available for ₹ 2,999

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 GRAB BARS: These simple safety devices attached to the wall help you get around the toilet—from getting on and off the WC to balancing yourself on a wet floor. Made of stainless steel or hard plastic, they come in different sizes. PRICE: ₹ 1,000 onwards for stainless steel (12”); ₹ 1,500 onwards for hard plastic (15’’)

 HANDHELD SHOWER: Sit back on your shower chair and enjoy continuous water flow. The elongated hose gives you extended reach and access to hard-to-reach areas. Some handheld showers can also be used like a normal shower by adjusting the angle, flow and height. Price: ₹ 600 onwards

 NON-SLIP SHOWER MAT: Made of rubber-like material, these mats provide resistance against slippery floors. PRICE: ₹ 350 onwards

 JET SPRAY HOSE: Installing a jet spray hose near the toilet makes it easy to access hard-to-reach areas and clean oneself properly. PRICE: ₹ 1,600 onwards

 ANTI-SKID TILES: Your best weapons against slippery floors, there is a huge variety in the market available at affordable rates. Price begins at ₹ 30 per sq ft but product quality is questionable; branded Indian and imported tiles range between ₹ 100 and ₹ 500 per sq ft

 SECURITY POLE WITH CURVE GRAB BAR: This helps silvers with bathtubs climb in and out and provides additional support while getting on and off the toilet. PRICE: ₹ 14,500 onwards

 SINGLE-HANDLE FAUCETS: Easy to use and less confusing than dual-handle faucets, they eliminate the danger of scalding while getting both hot and cold water with one hand. PRICE: ₹ 800 to ₹ 5,000. PLUS: Thermostatic shower faucets ensure that the temperature remains constant for the duration of use. PRICE: ₹ 30,500 onwards

 FOR THE LUX LOO! This adjustable sink comes with built-in hand grips to enable you to stand and maintain your balance. The curved basin provides easier access to the water and a raised back edge directs excess water back into the bowl.

 BIDET/ BIDET SEATS: A hygienic but expensive alternative, a bidet is an oval basin designed specifically to wash one’s private parts. An advanced version of the bidet, a bidet seat, fits on top of the toilet seat and is pre-programmed to wash and air dry. PRICE: ₹ 13,000 onwards for a bidet; ₹ 40,000 onwards for a bidet seat


—Compiled by Sudakshina De Sarkar

Photos: iStock
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
June 2018