Bathroom Design for Assisted Showering That Improves the Qual ...

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There is increasing demand for housing that enables elderly people with high-care needs to live independently. Assistance with showering is the most common personal care requirement and the experience of showering has a high impact on Quality of Life (QoL). This article explores the requirements for bathroom design to improve the QoL for those elderly people who require assistance. Using semi-structured interviews and direct observation of twenty-six elderly people and their caregivers, data were collected on physical environments, perceptions, and the use of space from the users of retirement villages as well as public- and private-sector rental housing for the elderly in New Zealand. The research finds that many showering spaces were too small to comfortably accommodate assistance. In addition, many spaces lacked the means to protect privacy in a safe manner for the occupant and the caregiver. Common spatial requirements lacking included: level shower entrances, space sufficiency for assisted drying as well as assisted showering, and measures to limit the spread of water over the floor for caregiver safety. In the design of a bathroom for those requiring assistance, there is greater need for either additional space or more adaptable space to accommodate caregivers and maintain dignity, independence, privacy, and other aspects important for the QoL of those with high-care needs.