If you or a loved one has a disability or medical condition that causes limited mobility, even using the bathroom can be a safety hazard: a number of types of shower stalls, for example, are dangerous because of the risk of slipping. However, there are a variety of options and products, ranging from modern toilets to handicapped showers, that help a disabled person attend to a number of basic tasks independently and safely. Follow these tips for remodeling your bathroom to make it a friendly space for you or your loved one.
One of the first areas that you should focus on is the toilet. Surprisingly, this staple of the modern bathroom has been undergoing a variety of changes and adaptions for centuries. However, many of the more recent changes to the toilet are related to saving water: before the 1950s, toilets typically used 7 or more gallons of water per flush, but today, a new toilet uses only 1.6 gallons per flush, conserving water usage and reducing the average water bill.
There are a variety of toilets today that would work in every home: for example, high efficiency toilets are water saving toilets designed to provide the maximum flushing power, while pressure assisted toilets use both water and compressed air to remove waste. To choose one to best suit the needs of you and your family, it is important to consider the mobility of your family members. Make sure the toilet you choose is at a proper, easy to use height, and consider adding handrails to make sitting and standing easier.
The next area you should focus on adapting is the bathtub or shower. Fortunately, there are a number of forms of handicapped showers and bathtubs, and it is often easy to find an option that works to suit your needs. One of the most common options is the walk in bathtub, which has doors that open either inward or outward depending on the user’s preference, but forms a watertight seal when closed. Walk in tubs are specially designed for people with limited mobility, and often come equipped with safety rails, seats, and other safety features. They also often include a shower attachment, turning the feature effectively a walk in tub shower combo.
After these two areas are adapted, there are a number of other changes you can make to make your bathroom safe for a disabled user. Make sure your floor has a texture that won’t lead to someone with limited mobility tripping or falling. Choose a vanity that is of a height that will help you or your loved one with their balance if necessary. Add safety rails as necessary. And, most importantly, make sure the bathroom is of the proper size and design that a wheelchair, walker, or other needed piece of equipment can be accommodated and maneuvered. By making changes like these, from handicapped showers to handrails, which focus on the needs of the disabled user, you will be able to create a space that allows for a valuable sense of independence and safety.
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