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Senior Living Design and ADA Compliant Bathrooms Go Hand-in-Hand

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ADA compliance is a top priority in effective senior living design. However, ensuring you meet compliance codes is really just the first step in designing a great bathroom for older residents. Whether your project is for a retirement development, assisted living facility, nursing home, or independent senior apartment, it’s also important to consider the human aspects of the bathroom’s design.

Residents will need facilities that are not only safe and convenient but provide the same comfort and familiarity they’ve enjoyed for years in a traditional home. Luckily, an attractive senior living design can go hand-in-hand with ADA-compliant showers, fixtures, and other bathroom accessories.

There Are Many Accessibility Standards, But ADA Is the Clear Winner

The U.S. uses a decentralized system for standards for accessibility, which means there are multiple potential sets of codes that an architect could choose to follow. Many architects, for example, will abide by FHA codes when designing bathrooms. 

Compliance with FHA standards can often be an excellent choice. However, there’s a major difference between FHA and ADA standards:

  • ADA-compliant showers must be accessible upon installation.
  • FHA-compliant showers must only be usable upon installation—they do not require units to be accessible from the beginning with pre-installed grab bars or seats.

While an FHA shower must include the proper reinforcement to support accessibility features, there’s no requirement for the factory model to have them pre-installed. ADA-compliant showers, by contrast, must be fully accessible — not only usable — right out of the gate. This makes ADA compliance the gold standard for senior living bathroom design. At EverFab, we always recommend that you choose an ADA compliant shower for seniors.

Design Limitations Are Fuel For Creativity

To complete an exceptional senior living bathroom design, start by learning the constraints of the codes. There are many things to take into consideration, such as sink height, toilet dimensions, standing floor space, and shower thresholds.

These requirements may set the edges of the paper, but those boundaries can also become fuel for a creative and aesthetically pleasing design. ADA-compliant bathrooms don’t need to feel spartan or clinical. Check out these examples of fiberglass showers with elegant simulated tile, or these examples of ADA showers with a convenient and home-like shelf on the back wall. They all meet strict ADA compliance codes, but also offer a sense of familiarity and sophistication that brings the comfort of home into every senior living bathroom design.

Use Accessibility Features As An ‘Idea Bank’ For Senior Living Design

Everything from the general shape of the room to doorways, fixtures, toilets, sinks, and mirrors can improve upon overall accessibility. Browse these 8 universal design bathroom trends or these 17 accessible bathroom design features for a spark of inspiration. Clever use of low storage, a second extra long or tilt mirror, a wall-mounted sink, or curbless showers can dial up accessibility while also knocking your design’s visual impact and comfort out of the park.

Get in touch with the shower experts at EverFab to share the details on your next senior living design project and we’ll help you to identify some excellent ADA compliant shower options that suit your needs.

ADA & ANSI Product Guide