The bathroom is one of the rooms in your home where accidents can happen easily. It’s also a space that most people would prefer to have a little bit of privacy within. This combination makes the bathroom particularly difficult for anyone who has accessibility concerns, either for themselves or members of their family. The following will explore a few modifications you might want to think about if accessibility is a focus in your home.
Ask What’s Needed
It’s a good idea to combine the below information with a conversation with members of your household. Ask people what they need and what would make their time in the bathroom easier, and actively listen to their responses. You might find ideas that are specific to the people in your life that are easy to apply but have a huge impact on someone’s day-to-day life.
Understand Your Space Considerations
Before you dive into tweaks and modifications, it’s a good idea to get clear on how much space you need within your bathroom. If someone has a wheelchair or other mobility or support device, or if a support animal is going to be present with them when they’re in the bathroom, space is important. Everyone in your household should be able to turn around and maneuver within the space otherwise it isn’t accessible. Make sure you know what space cannot be infringed upon by your modifications before you carry on. This can also help you narrow down your choices if there are multiple different options for upgrades. Be sure to include sink height in this study of your space. It’s also important to figure out at this point if you need to widen the doorway for easier movement purposes. There are doors available that meet accessibility standards for width if you look.
Properly installed grab bars near the toilet and within the shower can make a huge difference in how accessible your bathroom is. This is because bathroom grab rails help people steady themselves and support themselves when moving from one position to the next. They can also help people who have difficulties with balance keep themselves steady in environments where slipping and falling are more likely.
Consider The Height Of Objects
Once you know that the space you have will function, it’s a good idea to consider the height of all objects in the current space. You might need to adjust the location of various items that are already present before you start adding things. Take a walk through the bathroom and take note of everything you need to touch in there. This includes light switches, taps, soap, toothbrushes, medications behind the mirror, toilet paper, hairbrushes, shampoo and conditioner, and whatever else you keep and use in the bathroom. Now make sure that all of these items are at a height that can easily be reached. This might involve installing shelves lower to the ground or moving light switches down. It’s important that you don’t tackle any electrical work without the help of a professional.
Think About Toilet Height
Getting into a seated position on a toilet isn’t necessarily a smooth operation for everyone. If the toilet seat is high or low, this can make it difficult for people with limited mobility to sit on it. In many cases, an elevated seat is a good solution as it limits the distance a person needs to travel to be seated on the toilet. It can also help the toilet seat remain level with a wheelchair which is ideal for anyone in a wheelchair.
The shower might need to be tweaked in a number of ways depending on the needs of your household. Sometimes a door that opens the edge of the shower or a walk-in shower can help those who struggle to lift their legs over the edge of the tub and can, therefore, reduce the risk of tripping or falling. Likewise, sometimes a seat is needed in the shower for people who find standing for extended periods of time difficult. In a shower with a seat, it’s a good idea to have a handheld showerhead that can be easily reached from a seated position. As well, you want to install non-slip surfaces wherever possible.
The above tips should help you cultivate a more accessible bathroom space. Don’t forget the little things. It’s easy to get swept up thinking about the sink, toilet, door, and shower when making a bathroom accessible, but there are countless other little things that people do in bathrooms. Think about mirror placement, angle, and height. Think about how accessible the garbage is. Is there a space that is accessible that can store perfumes, nail clippers, and other bathroom items?