Using a public usually comes with a second thought. Why if it isn’t probably maintained? How clean is it? I hope I won’t get toilet infections? Do I have to come with my own sanitizer? Is there a way to properly clean up after using the room? If you could have all these thoughts with your strong immune system, imagine what an average elderly man or woman has to think before using a public toilet.
A 2007 research by Hanson et Al showed that many old people feel their needs are not being met in both the design and provision of lavatory facilities when they are away from home. This is the reason why many old people would rather sit home than go visit people and places. The various limitations of the restroom outside their homes does not encourage their outing.
The situation is understandable for these categories of people because of health challenges peculiar to their age.
Many of them suffer unimaginable back pains while trying to reach the toilet seats and others find it hard to even get in with their various aids (crutches and wheelchairs).
This has gone on for a long time and can be fixed if there is a proper plan designed to cater for the toilet challenges of the elderly.
Tips To Making Public Toilets Comfortable For The Elderly
It is no news that the older people get, the weaker they become. And it would be close to vile to not consider the various medical conditions and limitations that come with being old or handicapped during public toilet design.
Here, we look at 5 guides to comfortable public toilet design for the elderly.
- High Seating Toilets
The most common problem among the elderly is a ‘bad hip or lower back pain’ and for these sets of people, sitting on the regular toilet which is usually too low for them is extremely hard and can be dangerous. This is why toilets with extenders that increase the height should be set up so that it could be easier for them to sit. Persons who need to be transferred from a wheelchair to the toilet would also be at the good end of this design model because these elevated seats and that of the wheelchair are usually of the same height so it would be an easy process.
2. Fall Preventive Facilities
The elderly are at a point in their lives where falling down is not acceptable. It is for this reason that all measures to prevent this from happening must be put in place. Grab bars should be set up so that they can have something to hold on to while standing.
Additional lighting should also be present if needed. This is because excessive lighting is not good for everyone and can cause a problem for people with excess light issues like hypersensitive epilepsy or photophobia may have problems if the lighting is not well regulated.
The floors should be made with tiles that do not encourage falls. Mosaic and ceramic tiles are very good options for these floor designs.
3. Wide Partition
Another reason elderly people may find it hard to use regular public toilets is because of its size. Any lavatory that would be used by old or disabled people should have a wide enough door width to allow a person on a wheelchair or walker to go through. It must also have wide enough partitions to allow the rotation of these wheelchairs inside the toilet and to also accommodate helpers. You should contact One Point Partitions to get the right space and design necessary to make the use of the public restroom easy for the elderly.
4. Provision of Frequent Cleaning
To avoid the spread of germs and the virus, special provision for cleaning has to be made for the public toilets of the elderly. It should be cleaned as much as it can be in one day everyday. This is because the special grabs and holds in the toilet are touched by different people and must be disinfected to prevent the spread of certain bacteria and germs. Secondly, old people can be messy while doing their business. This is another reason why frequent cleaning should be made available so that it can be comfortably used by the next person.
5. Numerous Partitions
More toilet partitions means more people get to do their business at the same time.
Since the elderly are known to be slow at many activities due to their age and doing their private business is one of them. This is why there should be more partitions to prevent any queue that may cause them to stand for long.
6. ADA Compliance
Thankfully, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have developed design and building guidelines for businesses and public facilities to follow. This helps to guide establishments and homeowners on the measures to put in place to accommodate individuals with disabilities. For the safe accessibility of the bathroom facilities for either the aged or disabled, the ADA standard for bathrooms must be met.
Taking all of these into consideration while planning the design of public toilets for the elderly and handicapped would help you ensure that they feel just as comfortable even when they are away from home. You can also check out the ADA bathroom Design Standards for other design specifications you may need.