Follow the principles of Universal Design to when designing a walk-in shower that is safe for seniors. The goal of Universal Design is to design showers and other rooms that are safe for all users. These designs feature showers with grab bars, adequate lighting, non-slip floors, wall niches and adjustable shower sprays and controls with anti-scalding technology.
Showers should be at least three feet square, with an entrance wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers and enough space to move around with this equipment within the shower. Options to add for seniors who need to sit include a shower chair, shower stool or shower wheelchair. For the more mobile seniors, include a built-in shower seat that can be folded against the wall when not in use.
Grab bars should have good padding and be strong enough to support up to 350 pounds. Position lights so that they provide good lighting for the shower entrance and within the shower stall, without being blocked by users when showering.
Falls are one of the biggest health hazards for seniors, so non-slip flooring outside the shower stall and non-slip mats within the stall are essential safety elements for seniors. Wall niches keeps shower and bath items within easy reach. Include at least two levels to store items, one for seated users and children and the other higher up for standing users.
Adjustable shower sprays and easy-to-reach shower controls provide flexibility for seniors to customize their shower to best meet their needs. Add an additional shower spray for more mobility options. Include anti-scald technology to all water options.