16.–21.01.2023 #immcologne

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Accessible, luxurious, smart

What older adults want in an age-appropriate bathroom

Bathrooms are becoming increasingly important as spaces for wellness and relaxation. That’s why people now spend more time in the bathroom than they did in the past. This is currently particularly true of the baby boomer generation, which is reaching retirement age and will be at home a lot in the future. Many such older adults have already begun renovating their bathrooms. Here, we examine what matters to this target group when it comes to age-appropriate bathroom renovations and which innovative products are particularly sought after.

Bathroom with large, age-appropriate shower cubicle by Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd. on Unsplash.

When it comes to age-appropriate bathroom renovations, baby boomers are particularly keen to install large, floor-level showers with seating. (Photo: Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd. on Unsplash)

What baby boomers need

The so-called “baby boomer” generation was born between 1946 and 1964. Although they may currently lead full and active lives, these individuals will soon reach retirement age, when they are very likely to spend more time at home. Nevertheless, they will want to retain their autonomy as they get older, because freedom, individualism and living an independent life are very important to this generation.

Baby boomers are more affluent than their parents and grandparents were, most have sufficient financial means at their disposal to renovate and redesign rooms – and many of them are doing just that. According to a study carried out by Houzz , 35 per cent of baby boomers are already remodelling their bathrooms to address their current needs, and 21 per cent are taking future needs into consideration in their renovation plans. Their goal: to create a home that’s both age-appropriate and modern.

Bathroom remodelling: safe and fully accessible

According to the study, both baby boomers and younger generations consider bathroom accessibility and safety to be very important. A bathroom should be as easy to access as possible – for older people, too – and at the same time be a comfortable, relaxing space . The size plays a role here: the larger the bathroom, the more options there are for grab bars or grab rails, such as the Handle-MB09139 model from Gruppo Confalonieri s.r.l.

Leaving space in front of and underneath washbasins or vanity units is important as this allows wheelchair users to spend time in the bathroom comfortably. An age-appropriate shower cubicle has a low threshold – or none at all. A seating bench in the shower is also helpful. To make a bathroom renovation as safe as possible, the lighting design must also be well thought out. All areas, including the shower, bathtub and washbasin, need bright light sources. LED lights from Eberhard Bäder und Naturstein und Glas , for example, are ideal.

Bathroom with free sink by swabdesign on Unsplash.

A washbasin without a bathroom cabinet underneath not only helps to create a clean, minimalist look, but also supports accessibility in a baby boomer bathroom. (Photo: swabdesign on Unsplash)

Smart, age-appropriate shower enclosures

Because of the need to step into them, bathtubs pose an increased risk of slipping. That’s why many baby boomers have an age-appropriate bathtub installed, or choose not to have one at all. Non-slip surfaces, bench seats, handheld showerheads and grab rails all feature in age-appropriate bathtubs – the latter can be fitted to ensure safe access to lavatories as well. For maximum accessibility, however, an age-appropriate walk-in shower enclosure such as the Cubicle shower from Vetrotec is more suitable than a bathtub with a raised threshold. Unless, of course, you simply eliminate that challenging step into the bath, which is achieved by the design of the Aquatica Baby Boomer Freestanding Walk-In Bathtub with a watertight door.

A luxurious and safe bathroom also features smart technologies . They aren’t just there for convenience, rather they are genuine aids, performing actions automatically at the touch of a button. Examples include heated bathtub backrests for extended bubble baths, smart LED lights that change colour, water jets that spray in rhythm with music and a remote control that can adjust the water temperature.

Stick-on shelves for baby boomers

The market already offers some exciting ideas for age-appropriate bathrooms, but installation can be a major hurdle. London-based design studio Map has responded by creating an innovative, ergonomic collection of bathroom products. Toilet roll holders, shelves, mirrors or hooks in the Sabi Space System can be easily attached to – and removed from – bathroom tiles, and they look ultra-modern.

However, the potential of safe bathroom products is far from exhausted. Height-adjustable washbasins or movable towel rails could also be integrated into accessible room concepts to provide maximum flexibility.

Bathroom renovation: luxurious and safe

In addition to accessibility and safety, the baby boomer generation also values a certain degree of luxury . This is reflected in modern, high-quality designs. And smart technologies are helping to meet the needs of the target group by providing functions that support both well-being and everyday life. As the baby boomer generation ages, the trend towards age-appropriate bathrooms will continue to develop, and it will be exciting to see what innovations the market responds with.

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