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How to Create a Dementia Friendly Bathroom

How to Create a Dementia Friendly Bathroom - Adaptation Supplies

Did you know that almost 1 million people are currently living with dementia in the UK? Most of these individuals are aged over 65 and experience a range of symptoms, including confusion, disorientation and memory loss. This makes everyday tasks like showering and using the toilet increasingly challenging, and potentially dangerous as cognitive decline progresses.

With that in mind, making adaptations within the home is crucial. And creating a dementia friendly bathroom will enhance their safety, reduce frustration and promote their independence for longer. From easy-to-use fixtures to non-slip flooring, there are several elements you’ll need to factor in. Discover expert tips for making bathrooms more accessible to people living with dementia below.

What is a dementia friendly bathroom?

Dementia friendly bathrooms should be designed to suit the individual's needs and abilities, and help them navigate with more ease. This can involve simplifying the design and features, adding signs and clearly defining areas with different purposes. You should also stick to simple décor that won’t lead to overwhelm or confusion. And remove any potential hazards, such as exposed pipework that gets hot, unnecessary clutter and any steps. Fall prevention aids are crucial too, particularly as dementia most commonly affects elderly people, which increases the risk of injury further. Let’s look in more detail at what to include and what to avoid…

How do you make bathrooms safer for those with dementia?

Make it a wet room

To minimise trip hazards, we’d advise turning your bathroom into a wet room if possible. That way, the person using it won’t need to step up into a raised shower tray. Or become confused by level access trays that contrast with the floor. (These can be just as dangerous as the white edge of the tray may mimic a step, leading to stumbles). Instead, a fully level wet room is best. Just make sure the bathroom walls, floor and door are all different shades so it’s clear where each one ends and begins.

Easy to use toilets and sinks

Similarly, toilet seats in dementia friendly bathrooms should be finished in a contrasting colour to the bowl and cistern. For example, a bold blue shade like this close coupled toilet by AKW, that stands out amongst the white pottery. This enables the user to locate the toilet quickly, and wall-mounted grab rails should be highly visible for the same reason.

It’s also good practice to install a classic flushing lever that requires minimal amount of force. But avoid push buttons and hi-tech flushing sensors which are harder for people with dementia to operate. The same goes for sinks. Make sure that the taps are either lever operated or easy to turn on and off. They should also be clearly labelled hot and cold, or ideally fitted with thermostatic mixing valves to regulate the temperature.

Shower area adaptations

You’ll need to consider water temperature in relation to showering too. As people with dementia aren’t as risk-aware as others, being able to pre-set the shower to a safe temperature is very handy. Install a thermostatic care shower so that the user can simply turn it on without needing to adjust the dials each time. Additionally, a shower that switches off automatically after a certain time period can prevent flooding if the user forgets to turn it off.

To create a dementia friendly bathroom, you may also need to upgrade the shower screen. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, reflective glass can frighten people with dementia, so a frosted panel is preferable and will add privacy too. Secondly, installing a plastic safety screen instead of a glass one lowers the chance of injury in the event of a fall. Alternatively, you could hang a curtain, but the material must be breathable in case of entanglement.

A shower seat can also make the experience more comfortable for elderly people who struggle to stand for long periods.

Dementia friendly bathroom flooring

Whether you choose tiles or cushioned vinyl flooring for your bathroom, the flooring should have slip-resistant qualities. A matt finish also offers reassurance because glossy floors may appear wet, making a person with dementia reluctant to enter.

Likewise, the flooring should be plain rather than patterned and if tiled, the grout should match. Patterns can cause visual overload and speckles may mimic dirt spots, so they should be avoided. Otherwise, the user could bend down and attempt to clean them, increasing the chance of a fall. Due to this, drains should blend with the flooring as closely as possible too.

Other bathroom fixture considerations…

  • Mirrors can cause confusion and make people with dementia anxious that someone else is in the room with them. We’d therefore suggest adding a blind so the mirror can be covered when it’s not being used to aid grooming.


  • The door of a dementia friendly bathroom should open outwards and any locks should be able to be opened from the outside. These adaptations can prevent a person with dementia getting trapped inside and aid access if there’s an emergency.


  • Radiators that get hot to the touch pose a danger to those with cognitive impairments and reduced awareness of their surroundings. As such, you should look to install low surface temperature radiators instead, or stick to underfloor heating. Any exposed heating system pipework should also be boxed in to lessen the risk of scalding.


  • Bright lighting can be overwhelming, so dementia friendly bathrooms should be lit with warmer toned bulbs. Also, make sure that the lighting is even throughout the room and that there are no obvious shadows which could instil fear. Motion sensor lighting may be useful too – especially at night. That way, there’s no need for the user to worry about finding the light switch before using the bathroom.


  • For the décor, avoid crisp white as it feels clinical and unwelcoming. Instead, opt for softer colours like beige, grey or pastel tones. Richer colours can then be used to make key features like toilet seats and grab rails more visible. And for the flooring, opt for relatively light colours, as darker shades may make it look like there’s a hole.


  • Last but not least, we come to bathroom storage. Medicines, bleach and other cleaning products should be stored securely out of sight to prevent accidents. Or be kept elsewhere. However, essential items like towels, toilet rolls, toothbrushes and soap should be visible and easily accessible to encourage their use. As such, open shelving or labelled storage drawers are more useful than cupboards to those with dementia.

Shop dementia friendly bathrooms at ASL

Ready to transform your loved one’s bathroom into a safe and stress-free space? Browse our full range online or feel free to send your queries to

With multiple years of experience under our belts, we can help you design the perfect layout to aid a person living with dementia. Not to mention select suitable fixtures and fittings. You’ll even receive a 3D computer-generated design to help you visualise what the room will look like once completed. And we can make any changes along the way as you see fit.

If you’re happy to proceed with our dementia friendly bathroom plan, we can also deliver your items and arrange installation through our sister company. To get started, just give our team a call.