Life can be challenging when you are faced with limited mobility and you are unable to perform everyday tasks such as going to the bathroom.
However, you can make a number of changes to your living environment with accessibility in mind that will help you accomplish these tasks much easier and safer. Here is a list of a few tips on how to make your bathroom more accessible and convenient for a handicapped or elderly person.
- Invest in a convertible bathtub. For anyone who is in a wheelchair or has trouble walking, tubs are among the most difficult things in a bathroom to access. A convertible bathtub is a perfect solution for them. Unlike regular bathtubs, a convertible one has a swinging door, built-in seat, and taller walls. This all makes it much easier and safer for people to get in and out of, and feel more comfortable.
- Add non-slip mats or flooring. They prevent one of the most dangerous situations for a handicapped or an elderly person - slipping and falling. They are very common in bathrooms because of all of the slippery surfaces. If the tile in a bathroom is wet, it becomes very slippery, which is extremely dangerous for people with mobility issues because they are not able to stop their fall as quickly or easily.
- Install a walk-in shower. Another alternative to a convertible bathtub described above is a walk-in shower. The biggest advantage of this type of shower is that a handicapped person does not have to leave their wheelchair. Most walk-in showers are equipped with a built-in seat for better convenience and they don’t have any sort of step or threshold to step over.
- Adjust sinks and toilet heights. Do not forget about sinks and toilets - they need to be accessed several times throughout the day, so it’s important that they can be reached and used easily. You should consider adding an assistive device such as a toilet seat lift to help with getting on and off the toilet safely and independently, especially if the toilet is fairly low to the ground. Even a minor difference can affect how easily the toilet is to get on and off, and whether a person can do it themselves or with the help of a caregiver. Another height adjustment is the sink. The sink should be placed low enough to be accessed from a wheelchair if need be. You can also install faucets that are easy to operate from a seated position that will increase usability.
- Install light sensors. It may be difficult for those with limited mobility to reach a light switch, especially if they need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Therefore, you can always install motion-activated lights that will help illuminate the room without any need to navigate or reach a switch. They provide convenience when entering and leaving the bathroom.
- Get the right type of faucet. You should consider the type of faucet as well. Faucets with levers rather than handles are considered to be the most user-friendly. You can also choose ones with sensors that do not need to be turned on and off physically. Installing one of these types of faucets will make washing hands a much simpler task.
- Add some extras. You can make your bathroom even more usable if you add stylish and functional options. Most of them can be added to the bathroom easily, without significant renovations and adjustments. The extras that you can add include: a removable shower head with a long hose, grab bars, and easy pull vanity drawer and cupboard hardware.
- Widen the doorway. Many walkers and wheelchairs are too wide for standard doorways, so it may be hard for people with mobility issues who rely on an assistive device to maneuver through them. In general, widening doorways is a complicated and costly task. However, an alternative solution would be to install a sliding door, which could provide a bit more space and prevent the individual from having to navigate around the door, which could be taking up valuable maneuvering room that’s needed. Another benefit to this type of door is that it may be easier to open or close especially for those who don’t have high dexterity in their hands.
- Lower bathroom wall cabinets. The cabinets in the bathroom are usually placed fairly high, which can make it difficult to reach everyday items. Therefore, lowering them is one of the first things you should consider. It is also recommended to remove the doors on some of them for even easier access. Simply placing all frequently used items in lower areas such as under the sink is always a great option too.
Now that you are equipped with several ways to make your bathroom more accessible for those with limited mobility, which ideas will you implement? In most cases, you just need a few changes that will help make the bathroom experience safer, easier, and more convenient.