With the total number of people in social housing aged over 55 projected to increase from 1.6 million to over 2.2 million by 2035 (if social housing maintains its current share of the housing market), there is a need to ensure that social housing stock can meet the demands this demographic places on it. Bathroom adaptations are one of the main ways social landlords can build versatility into their homes.
Here Stuart Reynolds, Head of Product & Marketing at AKW, discusses what the top ten products are for such adaptations.
1. Level Access Showering
Although walk in baths are an option for independent living, they tend to be more expensive than level access wet rooms. As well as removing trip hazards in the bathroom, a water tight wet room – created using a high-quality wet room former - makes the most of the space within the bathroom. For those landlords wanting flexibility, AKW offers a ‘Bathroom for Life’ solution which has a conventional bathroom layout that includes a bath that can quickly be transferred into a level access wet room showering area (and back again if required). Typically, the price difference between a Bathroom for Life fit and a traditional bathroom refurbishment or new build is £500.
2. Grab Rails
The most obvious way to reduce the risk of falls in the bathroom is to install grab rails. Strategically placed grab rails are a cost-effective way to help significantly reduce the risk of injury to tenants in the bathroom.
3. Shower Seat
An AKW shower seat lowers the likelihood of slips and falls by providing the user with the ability to sit whilst showering if needed. Ensuring that the shower seat is sturdy, comfortable and secure is vital and wall fitted ones also offer discreet, permanent solutions that cannot be removed by tenants.
4. The Right Electric Shower
Safety and style are further promoted with intelligent electric showers, such as AKW’s iTherm thermostatically stabilised temperature shower, or the company’s popular Care Bluetooth® enabled smart electric shower. As well as allowing for ultimate water and temperature control, this shower enhances the experience of both ambulant users and those with reduced mobility.
5. Shower Screen
Shower screens are available in a wide range of sizes and heights. When it comes to accommodating space, AKW has a wide range of glass and plastic options at both full and half height. AKW’s glass Larenco range can also be tailored and adapted to
fit any space in any sized room.
6. Low Surface Temperature Radiator
LST (Low Surface Temperature) radiators are ideal for use in adapted bathrooms, as their cool to the touch surface temperature ensures that there is no burn risk for anyone who accidentally touches them, or falls against them. AKW’s LST radiators are also as efficient as a conventional radiator.
7. Raised Height Toilet
A raised height toilet with a drop-down rail makes the process of getting on, off and using the toilet safer and more comfortable and is an integral part
of any accessible bathroom adaptation.
8. Wall Panels
Wall panels fulfil all the requirements of tiles but with none of the stress. AKW’s highly cost-effective wall panels fit beautifully into any bathroom, whatever the preferred style.
9. LED Lighting
Brighter is better when it comes to the bathroom. Good lighting promotes mobility, helps those with visual impairment and minimises the risk of any trips or falls. Incorporating highly efficient LED lighting now makes it possible for tenants to leave the bathroom light on overnight, without impacting negatively on electricity bills.
10. Wash and Dry Toilet
A wash and dry toilet can be a huge benefit to some tenants. The Geberit AquaClean 8000plus Care incorporates a simple to use shower, dryer and odour extraction which is easy to operate and virtually touch-free.
Although there is increasing pressure on housing stock to become even more accessible, there is now the bathroom equipment out there to make this a reality – and importantly accessibility doesn’t have to cost the earth, thanks to companies such as AKW.