An inspirational and affordable bathroom should be well within everybody’s grasp. And when we say “everybody”, that’s precisely what we mean.
With our Independent Living bathroom range, we now supply a comprehensive selection of products to aid people with restricted mobility, whether that’s due to a disability or simply old age. As part of our celebration of The Great British Bathroom, in this article you’ll find out the following:
- What is “Independent Living”?
- How can you create a stylish bathroom for Independent Living?
- What features will you need in an Independent Living bathroom?
- Who supplies Independent Living bathroom products?
- Where can I buy Independent Living bathroom products?
What is “Independent Living”?
Independent Living is a term you may not have heard of before, but if you are disabled or of pensionable age, it is something you are likely to come across more frequently.
Independent Living is all about maintaining your independence should you lack mobility due to a disability or old age. Most accidents occur in the home, and if you are less mobile, it could be through injury, disability or simply old age.
The term assisted living is also commonly used when discussing this topic. However, assisted living is a slightly different concept to Independent Living. Whereas Independent Living means the adaptation of your home to maintain your independence, Assisted Living means the adaptation of your home to maintain your independence and assist any carers you may have. We explore this topic in more depth in our article Independent Living versus Assisted Living.
How can you create a stylish bathroom for Independent Living?
The bathroom is one of the key rooms in the home where you can make changes to improve Independent Living. It could be as simple as adding a grab rail to the wall next to your bath, installing a shower that’s easier to control, or fitting a shower seat so you can sit in comfort. However, depending on your own situation, you may need to make larger-scale changes to your bathroom, like creating a wet room with level access to the shower area, or installing a shower with an extra-long hose, so that a carer can use it more easily. In any of these cases, you can still easily find products which will help you achieve this without skimping on style.
When we think about adapting a home for mobility reasons, style certainly isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but, with our range of Independent Living bathroom products, you’ll soon see that there is no need to compromise.
Just to show you how easily it can be achieved, we’ve created our very own stylish bathroom for Independent Living.
This bathroom design is contemporary in style, with an on-trend monochrome colour palette, oak effect finishes throughout, a beautiful bathroom suite and handy storage. The room has been designed as a shared space, so other family members who don’t have mobility issues can enjoy it too.
What features will you need in an Independent Living bathroom?
Focus on… simple adaptations
In some cases, a simple adaptation to an existing feature may be all you need to improve the accessibility in your bathroom.
In our example above, we’ve added a low level wall hung basin. The recommended basin height for adults is between 760mm and 1190mm (see our bathroom layout guide for more details), however, if you use a wheelchair or need to sit when using your basin, this may be too high.
The type of tap you choose is also important, especially if you have restricted hand movement. Look for taps that have a large handle and are easy to turn. High level basin mixer taps are perfect for this purpose.
If you require storage, it may be better to choose shelving or even a trolley, so all your essentials are close to hand. Privacy windows in a downstairs bathroom means you won’t need to constantly raise and lower blinds.
Focus on… toilets
The type of toilet you choose can also be a major consideration. Comfort height toilets are slightly higher than normal, meaning less effort is needed when sitting down or getting up, but other adaptations, such as a hands-free flush with motion sensor, avoids the need to twist or turn.
Whilst the need for easy use is important, easy cleaning is another factor that needs to be taken into account. Rimless toilets are increasing in popularity thanks to their more hygienic design that harbour fewer germs and bacteria. A wall hung toilet, like the one pictured below, can be installed at a comfortable height, whilst being easier to maintain than a standard close coupled toilet.
Focus on… grab rails
Getting around your bathroom, or in and out of the bath may have been activities you once took for granted, but if you are less mobile, they can be potentially dangerous. That’s why grab rails are one of the key elements for Independent Living. They give you added support and help reduce the risk of accidental trips or falls.
Grab rails are designed to withstand large amounts of pressure and to help you grip even with wet or soapy hands.
As well as fixed rails, you can also choose grab rails that flip up when not in use, allowing you to keep your shared space accessible to everyone. If you lack mobility in your back or legs, a rail, on one or both sides of the toilet, will allow you to ease yourself gently on and off the seat. Find out more about them in our grab rail buying guide.
Focus on… shower seats
If you prefer a shower, you may ultimately find that standing for extended periods leaves you feeling tired or, at worse, a little dizzy. You can still enjoy your daily shower in a seated position thanks to the shower seat. Whilst there are simple models available, if you have a shared bathroom, you could install a foldable version.
Shower seats are designed with anti-corrosion materials, so they are perfect for a wet environment, and tested to conform to all relevant British safety standards. You can choose padded versions for extra comfort or find a colour that blends in with your décor.
Focus on… wet rooms
Unlike having to get in and out of a bath, which can be cumbersome at the best of times, a shower can be a much better option for Independent Living. However, a shower enclosure can prove tricky, due to the lip you need to climb over, and this gets worse if you have a riser kit for your shower tray too. This is why many people turn to a wet room, for level access and easy mobility.
If you’re concerned about the rest of your bathroom getting wet, fear not. Glass panels can be utilised to keep splashes at bay, and wall panels provide a stylish and seamless way to protect your walls. A waste pump can also be used, to suck water into the drain quickly, avoiding any accumulation or pooling of waste water.
The type of shower you choose is also important. From thermostatic showers with large paddle like controls, which are easier to use and feature an anti-scald cut out device, to electric showers with remote controls, there are plenty of options that make life easier. If you have a carer, an extra-long shower hose will also be very helpful.
Focus on… baths
Showers aren’t for everyone, and if you are one of those people who really cannot be without their bath, there are some great options for Independent Living.
In our room set, we’ve included a Kineduo shower bath, which comes with a side door for easy access, plus a cushioned head rest for added comfort. A fold down seat also allows you to use the shower in a seated position.
Who supplies Independent Living products?
At VictoriaPlum.com, we’ve partnered with established brands, who are experts in designing and producing bathroom products for Independent Living.
With the slogan “Life made better”, AKW specialise in Independent Living bathrooms and continually design and improve their products for safety, accessibility and ease of use.
AKW provide a specific expertise when it comes to showers and wet rooms, providing a wide variety of wet room kits, grab rails, shower curtains and shower seats, along with their specially-adapted range of thermostatic and electric showers.
Quick and easy to install, without the need to retile walls, they offer easy access, should you prefer the option of both a bath and shower.
Where can I buy Independent Living bathroom products?
Simply click on the banner below to go straight to our Independent Living section, where you’ll find a wide selection of products at low prices.
The Great British Bathroom
No matter how big or small it may be, we're celebrating The Great British Bathroom throughout the year, with fresh inspiration for the nation. To see our growing collection of bathroom ideas, click on the image below.