In recognition of International Day of Older Persons which took place today on 1st October, GROHE looks at the ways in which accessible design in the bathroom can make simple tasks usually taken for granted much easier for the ageing population.
The International Day of Older Persons (acknowledged each year on 1st October) is spear-headed by the United Nations and encourages enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by older persons today. The awareness day offers an opportunity to look at the multi- generational home and how to prepare our homes to cope with the needs of the elderly to ensure we can remain in them for longer.
According to a recent government report “Future of an Ageing Population”, the UK population is ageing and it is projected that nearly one in seven people will be over 75 years old by 2040*. The report highlights the growing significance and importance of the home in later life:
“Suitable housing can significantly improve life in older age, while unsuitable housing can be the source of multiple problems and costs. Poor quality housing costs the NHS an estimated £2.5 billion per year. Homes will be increasingly used as places of work and care. Appropriately designed housing, that can adapt topeople’s changing needs as they age, has a number of benefits. These benefits include reducing demand on health and care services, and enabling individuals towork more flexibly in later life”
Extensive R&D and investment from GROHE has allowed the world-leading sanitary manufacturer to look at ways in which bathroom design can improve quality of life.
“Many people planning a bathroom today want to take their future needs and requirements into account without compromising on contemporary design”comments Raj Mistry, Marketing Director for Grohe UK. “The bathroom is particularly vital to old age, as it is the room where people perhaps most want to be self-sufficient to preserve dignity and save themselves from feelings of embarrassment. At the same time, it is an essential room in the home in order to maintain high self-hygiene levels. There are a number of ways that bathroom design can be structured to cope with the demands of ageing.“
Here are some of Grohe’s findings from extensive research:
Make smart use of space
A sensible room layout and a forward-looking choice of decor are equally instrumental in maximising the user-friendliness of what remains the most private room of any home. The room layout should avoid narrow access ways, provide sufficient turning space for wheelchairs and walkers, while placing basins and WCs in easily accessible spots- for example, a lower wall hung basin to allow access for wheelchair users. Cleverly placed grab bars in the toilet and shower area, plus a seat in the bath or shower, can help to give people confidence to use the bathroom independently.
How to make the bathroom safe for all generations
An important contribution to the multi-generational bathroom are specifically designed and engineered products combining elevated levels of comfort, ergonomics, user safety and longevity. Products-wise, think about safety features, such as thermostatic shower controls to balance fluctuations in water temperature and pressure, as well as technology such as GROHE CoolTouch which prevents the fitting’s body and other objects such as hand showers becoming excessively hot on the surface. This helps to reduce the risk of scalding and, as the technology is hidden within the product, the customer can still enjoy the same stylish looks. Product control is also an important factor to consider. Infra-red touchless taps also provide a great solution, as the water flow simply starts and stops when the sensor detects hand movement. They also often come with a timer which automatically stops the water flow after a desired length of time to reduce wastage.
Comfort through techology – making day to day tasks trouble-free
“Up until a certain age we take going to the toilet for granted,“ says Raj Mistry. “It’san every day necessity but as we age and become less mobile it becomes moredifficult than in previous years.“
Shower toilets use advanced technologies to minimise maintenance and cleaning, offering a perfect combination of thorough body care, ultimate hygiene and personalised comfort. A shower toilet such as the GROHE Sensia Arena provides a solution for the multi-generational bathroom with its natural, water-only cleansing process and its wide array of customisable functions. An automatic shower toilet combines toilet, bidet and warm air drying in one unit which means no strenuous movement is required for those with reduced mobility. In turn, this makes going to the toilet a discrete, hygienic and hassle-free pursuit
Planning a bathroom to meet future needs no longer means compromising on style and design. As the population ages, it is more important than ever to provide offerings that meet the needs of older clients. Through the variety of products available, retailers can provide their customers with a wide choice to best suit their lifestyle and needs to help them plan for the future and create a stylish yet functional home suitable for all ages.
*Source: Future of an ageing population