Boomers: Don’t let mobility problems ruin your bathroom relaxing time

Adapting your home for the needs of disabled people can often be difficult, and the bathroom is often the first area to worry about. With permanent fixtures, such as the bath and shower, making things easier for a handicapped person can seem to be an impossible chore.

However, with the right preparation and foresight, it can be quite easy to transform any bathroom into something more suited and comfortable to the needs of disabled people. Whether it’s changing the layout, installing a disabled shower, a walk-in bath or simply making sure that nothing is out of reach, there is plenty that can be done.

Bath and Shower for the Disabled

One of the more pressing concerns, your bath and shower, are undoubtedly the most crucial needs in the bathroom. The traditional facilities, however, might not be acceptable for those with disabilities. As a result, you may find yourself having to install new bath or shower facilities that are more suitable.

Walk-in baths come in numerous sizes. This makes it much easier to find one that suits your spacial requirements, rather than trying to create space to suit the bath or tub. In terms of installation, the bath acts very much like a traditional fixture. Besides the addition of a thermostat, the bath uses normal plumbing connections, so it can be fitted quickly and easily.

As for walk-in showers, this is just as easy. Again, size is not an issue. Larger showers can obviously make use of a seat, but even smaller showers can use a collapsible or fold-away seat. These are easy enough to fit, and don’t require any extensive work.

Space and Accessibility

In addition to a new bath and shower for the disabled, you need to be aware of the space needed to access the area. Bathrooms, for instance, can have either an inward or outward opening door. If it opens outward, you need to make sure the sink or other fixtures aren’t going to block the opening. Likewise, you generally need to keep an area clear for people to access the facilities. Wheelchairs and other mobility aids can take up space, and people using these will need to be able to comfortably access the bath or shower.

Likewise, everything else needs to be accessible. This can include simple solutions, such as installing handle bars and grips near the toilet. These grips allow people to better manoeuvre in and out of the toilet.

Additionally, if you have any wall cabinets or shelves, you might want to consider if these are too tall to reach from a wheelchair position. If this is important, and you’re readjusting the bathroom anyway, now would be a perfect time to fit them somewhere lower down, or replace them with something more practical all together.

Finally, bear in mind that all this needs to relate to your individual circumstances. The size of your bathroom will certainly play an important part, so it’s recommended that you make detailed note of both the bathroom’s dimensions and the dimensions of anything you want to install. If it doesn’t work out on paper, then no amount of adjusting is going to make the maths work in reality.

(Photo credit:By Jonba00 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

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