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On the safe side

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AS you get older, you might find you’re not as steady on your feet as you used to be or your grip is, perhaps, not as strong.

The increased chance of slipping might also be a concern, especially in wet areas such as bathrooms where falls for older people are common.

But all this shouldn’t mean your bathroom design needs to look confrontin­g and unattracti­ve as you move into those senior years.

According to Ari Zorlu, managing director of bathroom-products company Paco Jaanson, it is possible to create a safe space that functions well without compromisi­ng style.

This was the impetus behind the senior-friendly Care range of bathroom products Paco Jaanson designed and launched last year that includes vanities, toilets, grab bars, shower kits and tap mixers.

“A senior-friendly bathroom is anything but a downgrade. It should be seen merely as a transition of style linked with functional­ity,” Mr Zorlu said.

GRAB BARS

Mr Zorlu said grab bars should be added as required to different areas of the bathroom to help you steady yourself. For the shower, he suggested a 90-degree wraparound bar to rest both your left and right hands on comfortabl­y, or a T-bar design where the shower head could also be attached to the rail.

For walls next to the toilet and vanity, he suggested a 90-degree or 40-degree bar which are available in different stainless-steel finishes for extra grip.

VANITIES

Aa wall-mounted washbasin with a rounded edge is good for safety.

Basins with wide shelves for forearms to rest or integrated grab rails are also wise buys.

Bear in mind you might need a wheelchair in your later years. Try to keep the space under the basin clear for wheelchair access or so you can slip your feet underneath to get a bit closer.

TOILETS

Raising the height of the toilet by less than 5cm would make standing up a lot easier and install a backrest to a grab bar for additional support. For those with poor eyesight, a toilet with a projected pan or a coloured seat and flush button could help. A control plate with larger, easy-toidentify buttons above a wall-hung toilet would be handy, too, Mr Zorlu said.

SHOWERS

A shower with a flexible hose and a shower seat would make things more comfortabl­e. Always aim for clear access with a walk-in shower and wider doorway.

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