Adding a shower seat can relieve the strain experienced with standing for extended periods of time. These seats allow a person to safely shower and lessen the chance of falling. There are many types to choose from, a few being shower stools, shower chairs, retractable (or fold-up) seats. As well as, built-in seats.
For overall bathing safety and usability, you may want to think about these options:
- Have the tub and shower water controls closer to the entry-point so they can be reached from outside the tub/shower area
- Install lever handle faucets
- Have a shelf installed in the tub/shower area for soap, shampoo and towels
- Install or purchase a shower or tub seat
- Have the water pressure controlled (a good idea for the sink as well) and install anti-scald controls
- Add a light in the shower stall if there is not one
In order to prepare for the greatest usability, consider a wheelchair accessible sink that is hung on the wall, providing space for your knees (or wheelchair) underneath a pipe-covering panel to protect user’s legs. One of the easiest things to do to make the bathroom more accessible is installing lever handle faucets. You also might like to know that there are faucets that are pedal controlled. Both of these allow people of almost all abilities to more easily turn the faucets on and off, and are particularly helpful for people that have arthritis or other issues with gripping or bending their hands. For safety, consider having all water pressure controlled and install anti-scald controls to prevent burns.
Cabinets and Counters
It never seems to fail that you always need more storage space. If you are planning to remodel your bathroom, make sure to include as much storage space as you can. You might want to consider installing adjustable height (or varying height) counter tops with provisions for roll-under access in front of the sink and main counter top so someone can access the counter top and mirror easily.
A few other things to consider:
- Install a contrasting edge color on counter tops. This will help anyone who has diminishing eyesight and/or balance issues feel more at ease and help reduce accidents.
- Make sure there is plenty of counter space. Not only does this help you cut down on the clutter, it also will prepare the bathroom area for future space needs in caring for someone.
- No sharp edges! For safety, you should make sure the counter’s edge is rounded. This will help curb cuts and bruises should someone fall against it.
- Where is the medicine cabinet? It is very handy to be able to reach it while you are sitting down. If you have someone who cannot get around very easily, or are in a wheelchair, this could be particularly helpful.
- Tilting mirrors. For practical purposes, having a mirror that tilts up and down makes using it easier. Again, especially if someone will be using it in a sitting position or has a diminished stature.
This may seem incredibly obvious, but the bathroom should be free of slippery walking surfaces. For safety sake this is essential, particularly directly inside and outside of the shower and/or bathtub area. For the flooring and shower stall, consider anti-skid tile. If a tub remains, you should have an anti-skid coating put on the bottom of the tub.
It is a surprise to many people that throw rugs are a major cause of tripping and falling in the home. If you must have rugs in the bathroom (or anywhere for that matter), purchase a rug with a low pile and secure it with anti-slip rug tape found at most major home improvement stores. However, it is recommended that you remove them from the bathroom entirely.
There always are those items that come up that you’d wish you’d thought of before they became an issue. Here are a few tidbits listed below.
- Make sure the bathroom door can be unlocked from the outside.
- Replace the door knob with a lever handle. (This applies to all doors, actually.)
- For accessibility, bathroom doors should open out, not in. Pocket doors can also increase the space inside the bathroom.
- Install a phone in the bathroom that can be reached from the toilet and the shower/tub area. Cordless phones are easy to add.
More Aging in Place Home Ideas
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