Home Design

Bathroom safety design for aging generations includes grab bars and improved tubs

2013-02-05T00:00:00Z Bathroom safety design for aging generations includes grab bars and improved tubsBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Keeping people safe, in their homes and while out and about, is the career mission for Porter County Sheriff David Lain.

And no matter what age, education and awareness are a lifelong process, according to Lain, who has included new special programs for senior citizens.

His Porter County TRIAD, specializing in "senior citizen safety messages and programs," has been around since 2005.

"We work hard to meet the needs of senior citizens and have covered issues ranging from the latest possible door-to-door scams to helping create a location detection device that can be worn by seniors who have trouble with memory and might wander from a family or caregiver," said Lain, who encourages people of ever age stay informed by visiting a new and updated web site area at portercountysheriff.com/info/safe/safeseniors.

But the mechanics of household safety is a future topic to be addressed, including the danger of slips and falls around the home, especially bathrooms.

Nearly 370 people suffer bathtub or shower related injuries each day throughout the country according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

And January is National Bath Safety Month.

Dave Redmon, an expert in bathroom safety design, operates Bath Planet in Valparaiso, part of a growing national company based in Palatine, Ill. promising cost-effective, low-maintenance and long-term bath improvements to prevent these injuries and keep families safe in the bath and shower areas of the home.

"With just a few easy-to-implement remodeling solutions, injuries can be prevented," said Redmon, who began his Northwest Indiana design partnership with Bath Planet a year ago.

"There are many reasons why injuries in the bathroom are so common, and it begins with many people reaching an age when grab bars are needed for bathrooms that have an outdated design in need of an update."

Redmon said many projects are easier than homeowners realize, with completely remodeled bathrooms possible in as little as a day.

Earlier this month, the company held the 2013 Bath Planet Dealer Conference in Orlando Jan. 16-18, which included seminars and workshops alerting staff about the worst trouble areas in the home related to bathroom safety.

"There are so many people, and not just senior citizens, who form habits using makeshift safety precautions that aren't safe," said Bath Planet Senior Vice President Rick Hirschhaut.

"We hear of people who lean on vanities or sinks, which are often wet and slippery, as a way to support themselves to step over and into a bath tub. This is often the same remedy people will improvise for getting up from a toilet area or entering or leaving a shower."

Hirschhaut said since bathrooms are areas where water is always in use, it's a natural trouble location for falls.

"Many times, if we are remodeling and refitting a bathroom tub or shower area, it can even be the tiles that are the safety concern, both on the floor or on the walls," he said.

"If floor or wall tiling doesn't have the proper seal, water can get behind and moisture leaks. If the gathering water is allowed to stand over time, it can also weaken the structure of the floor, baseboard and even get behind the walls."

One of the worst offending practices Hirschhaut hears about is when people use a bathroom or shower faucet to grip in place of a needed grab bar.

Founded with the idea of a "one-day remodel idea," Bath Planet was founded in 2011 in Palatine and has quickly grown with dealers around the country.

"Our Baby Boomer generation is just now reaching the age when this large segment of our population now needs to think about bathroom areas that are equipped for this growing-older group," Hirschhaut said.

"Even something as simple as installing our 'non-slip' bathtubs and showers can make a big difference for every-day safety for an important part of the house with such high-traffic use."

Company representatives, like Redmon, based in Valparaiso, come right to the customer's home to provide a free estimate. Most of the remodeling can be done at a cost between a few hundred dollars for small safety improvements up to larger jobs costing up to $6,000.

Bath Planet was created by BCI Acrylic Bath Systems founders Tom Barzantny and Scott Rosenbach, with the duo recognizing a need for consistency between manufacturers and dealers in the tub and shower liner industry. 

Backed by BCI, a privately held manufacturer of tub and shower-liner systems with a network of more than 550 independent dealers throughout the United States and Canada, Bath Planet recently earned the coveted Good Housekeeping Seal.

"Besides installing our acrylic line right over the existing tub area, there are many designs to pick from, so the homeowner doesn't have to sacrifice beauty and design," Hirschhaut said.

For more information about Bath Planet, visit bathplanet.com or call (888) 922-8475.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

In This Issue