Lately I’ve been working with many seniors who need modifications to their homes. The common thread is expense vs. return on investment – some Seniors see living in their own home as the only option for a happy life. Even if they are wheelchair bound, or suffering from other maladies that would benefit greatly from some simple grab bar and handrail additions, to a walk in shower, and possibly even a stair chair.
What amazes me is that Seniors and their families are so attracted to walk-in tubs, which I believe are inherently unsafe. These ‘little’ items can cost up to $20,000 to install, while a complete ADA compliant bathing solution and remodeling the entire room would cost less than a “jump” in tub. These tubs require a step up – even two inches can be really difficult for an elderly person. One manufacturer’s web site even shows all the tubs with cross handle fixtures! Putting in lever handle faucets is one of the most important and simplest thing to do for yourself.
A good assessment and review of the home can expose details about where grab bars would work, and sometimes these are placed in garages, laundry rooms, kitchens, and of course, bathrooms. There are many, many options for beautiful grab bars. One thing to be aware of when installing grab bars is to know the weight of the person using the bar. Then check with the manufacturer to make sure the maximum weight it can hold, and choose the right brand. Anti-bacteria molded plastic over stainless steel is the best solution. Basic white costs just as much as a range of colors if you choose Ponte Giulio, Hewi (from Hafele) or “Great Grabz” styles.
Take into consideration the height of the client as well. While standards are standards, it doesn’t help to have a grab bar too high for a petite woman to hold comfortably. Right height the bars by taking the client into the room, and mark the heights on the tile or walls before drilling any holes.
For multiple grab bars, it should take one or two days to install up to 20. Then there will be patching and painting for any walls where a hole must be cut in the sheet rock to provide the proper backing per the manufacturers (and best practice) instructions.
Last night I attended our Nor Cal NKBA (National Kitchen + Bath Association) monthly meeting, up at the beautiful showroom DJ Mehler, hosted by the always-elegant Doris Mehler. The talk by Henry Brunelle, President, Bain Ultra, was brief and showed off some extremely high end solutions for creating a spa like experience in the bath. The ‘Insperience‘ shower panel includes all the gadgets and gizmos designed to offer a complete bath/shower experience using:
- Hydro-Thermo Massage® - Water, air and heat
- Thermotherapy® – A process of purification through perspiration
- Light Therapy®
The benefits of this ‘curative’ appliance is to treat your physical, mental, energy, emotional state, your future, health and sensual senses. So, what if you don’t have a million dollars to spend on your bath remodel? The benefits of all these elements have been demonstrated to be extremely therapeutic, and achieving a state of well being is what we all desire from our daily rituals.
What’s that? You don’t have a ritual? Well maybe it’s time you thought more about what the benefits of showering, bathing, and overall cleanliness have to do with your health and well being. It’s easy to achieve a feeling of well being from spending time at a spa by getting a relaxing massage or body treatment. But the effects dissappear after a week or less. Having a bath system where you can efficiently cleanse and relax your body is the goal. With that in mind, when you remodel your bath, create your own sanctuary, a place for your own ritual for health.
One ritual I began doing as suggested by one of my health practitioners is using a loofah on my whole body. Start one leg at a time at the foot, and lightly scrub in a circular motion, while traveling up the leg. do the next leg, your arms stomach, etc., and finish at your heart. It feels really good, and the side benefit is my skin is smooth and healthy, not dry and flaky as it was before.
For this, a little extra shower/bath space is useful, as is a calming, simply arranged environment. Enjoy creating your sanctuary.
Remember, HB Building and Design excels at bath remodels of all types. See some examples at www.bathpacks.com, or call 1-888-414-3718. We will never talk you into buying something you don’t need. We put your safety first, and then we enhance your lifestyle with a simple update to a completely new room. We look forward to hearing from you! – Bob + Jane