When making a home more accessible, bathroom modifications should be a key concern.
Wet floors, tight spaces and hard-to-reach faucets can all conspire to make this space difficult for disabled people and older adults with mobility issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, hundreds of thousands of Americans are injured in their bathroom each year, and a bulk of those injuries happen within the bathtub or shower.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your bathroom safer, from installing a wheelchair accessible shower to putting in grab bars:
1. Shower seats
For people who can't stand in the shower – or have trouble standing for too long, shower seats can make life significantly easier.
These seats can either be a fixed addition to the shower or a rolling seat. Either way, a shower seat needs to be at least 17 to 19 inches off the ground. A removable chair or stool in the shower can allow users to sit, while still making space for bathers who don't need to sit down while showering.
2. Grab bars
Grab bars a must in any wheelchair accessible bathroom or wheelchair accessible showers. In showers, all three walls of a roll-in showers should have grab bars, while transfer showers should have grab bars on two walls. In a tub, grab bars should be placed at sitting and standing range on the side wall. Whenever possible, position grab bars so they're close to the tub/shower controls.
3. Non-slip flooring
One of the keys to preventing falls in the tub or shower is installing a nonslip floor, either by using textured tiles, or a slatted wooden tray placed atop a concrete floor.
4. Curbless showers
Curbless showers are showers that have an opening that's level with the floor, and slopes downward to the drain. These showers should be three feet wide to accommodate people using a transfer seat and five feet wide for people using wheelchairs.
Whether you use a wheelchair, walker, or are just at risk for falling, a curbless shower is the perfect solution to creating a handicap accessible shower.
5. Walk-in tubs
Climbing over the edge of a tub cab be difficult, if not impossible, for people with mobility issues. Handicap walk-in bathtubs allow them to avoid that issue. And putting tub controls near the front edge keeps users from having to attempt a long reach.
6. Scald prevention
For people with disabilities, reaching the shower controls can be difficult, which puts them in danger of being scalded. By installing anti-scald mixing valves, you can ensure that water temperature will stay at a safe level. You can also prevent burns by lowering the maximum heat on your hot water heater.
Shower controls should also be where users can reach them without getting wet. Install a handheld showerhead for seated bathers.
7. Storage and placement
Make sure things like soap, shampoo, and washcloths are all neatly stored and easy to reach. Hooks or shelves for towels should also be within reach. This will let users dry off before getting out of the shower and prevent floors from getting wet.
8. Extra light
Put an overhead light in the shower and add a glass wall instead of a curtain to increase the light in the shower and make it safer for bathers.
Do you need help turning your shower into a wheelchair accessible shower? Not sure if handicap walk-in bathtubs are right for your bathrooms? Accessibility Modification Solutions can help.
Contact us today, and we'll get started on making your bathroom – along with the rest of your home – a safer, more accessible place.