With multi-generational living on the increase in the UK, what are the products to look out for that ensure that the bathroom meets the needs of all the family? Daniel Ward, Senior Ceramics Product Manager at Twyford, takes a look.
The way we live is changing: rising property prices, the cost of care for the old and young, and an ageing population are leading to a revival in multi-generational living. The latest research from Aviva suggests that almost 36m people in the UK have been part of a multi-generational household, and for 3m of them it is an arrangement lasting as long as 10 years or more.
With multi-generational households on the rise, the way our homes are designed needs to adapt to meet the differing needs of those living there. One of the pinch points for this shift is the bathroom, with this space needing to be accessible for all generations while not compromising on style. The onus is on installing products and solutions that enable the bathroom to be used comfortably by all generations – now, and in the future.
Safety is often the key concern for parents or in households with less able residents. Thermostatic taps will prevent scalding, with the lever variety making it easy for arthritic and young fingers to use. For bathing, products such as Twyford’s All Offset Family Bath come with a movable and reversible seat, headrest and a wider edge for parents or carers to sit alongside the bather. Shower seats are also available, as well as flush-to-the-floor shower trays to reduce trip hazards.
Safety also means keeping occupants free from unnecessary illness which can easily be spread in the bathroom. Products to improve hygiene include Rimfree toilets, which leave germs with nowhere to hide – originally developed to meet the stringent demands of healthcare buildings. Where Rimfree toilets are wall hung, cleaning is even easier.
Maximising storage space
A crucial requirement for any bathroom, whether the family is small or large, is storage. Hiding away unsightly toiletries will give the illusion of space, ensure the room looks clean and remove potential hazards. Multi-functional storage such as under-sink cupboards or movable stools with hidden compartments, available in the Twyford All range, mean function can be maximised. For very small bathrooms, tall units, a growing trend in the UK, can provide the ideal solution with each family member allocated a shelf.
Small changes make a big difference
Even a few simple tweaks can make a bathroom a much more user friendly place: shallow basins provide better access for wheelchair users whilst cupboard doors including shelving make it easier for the small or less able to reach inside. Comfort height toilets, positioned to help users get on and off the pan can be a great addition. For the very young, toilet training can be encouraged using adaptable seats in child-sized proportions. Our family seat, available in the Twyford e100 Energy range, includes a soft-close mechanism to protect little hands for added safety.
With the latest figures from Aviva suggesting that there could be as many as 2.2m multi-generational households in the UK by 2025, creating bathrooms that meet the needs of all ages will become commonplace. Knowing what to focus on and employing some clever solutions will help future-proof new homes.