Safety and accessibility are primary concerns when designing bathrooms for elderly people, but comfort and visual appeal are important, too. Universal design, also called inclusive design, is a way of designing for everyone while accommodating physical needs.
Some ways of keeping a bathroom safe include using non-slip mats, providing good lighting for the tub or shower area and over the sink, and using grab bars near the shower and toilet. The grab bars need to be durable and sturdy, but they need not look institutional. Decorator colors and designs are available for grab bars and tension poles.
Space for maneuvering a wheelchair, walker or other assisting devices help users get on and off the toilet, in and out of the tub, and approach the sink. The sink may need to be lower to accommodate wheelchair users, and space under it allows the chair to fit right in front. Mirrors, light switches and electrical outlets also need to be lowered. Faucet handles and switches should have controls that don't require gripping or precise motor control.
The shower area can have an adjustable shower head or a hand-held shower head. It can have a built-in ledge for sitting or a portable shower chair.The entrance should not require lifting a leg over a tub ledge. Raised bathtubs exist for people who love baths but cannot easily get into and out of a floor-level tub.