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Everything You Need to Know About Accessible Bathroom Design for Your Home

If you have mobility limitations of any kind, using the bathroom safely can be difficult. You may depend on a caregiver or loved one to help you bathe, use the toilet, and complete any number of other daily tasks in the bathroom.

If you would like to have independence, or simply improve your safety, an accessible bathroom could be the ideal solution.

We know implementing changes into your bathroom, no matter how minor, is a big decision. That’s why we’ve written this post on everything you need to know about accessible bathroom design to help you make the right choices.

What is an Accessible Bathroom?

An accessible bathroom caters to users with mobility limitations caused by an illness, injury, genetic condition, or numerous other factors. People affected by visual impairments or arthritis could also benefit from an accessible bathroom.

Someone who struggles to stand for minutes at a time may be unable to use a standard shower or get into a bath safely. But designing an accessible bathroom for their home would provide them with the assistance they need.

A wide range of fixtures and products can be implemented into an accessible bathroom today. Homeowners have a plethora of options to consider when planning changes to their bathroom.

What are the Benefits of an Accessible Bathroom?

Accessible bathroom design offers several benefits:

  • Reduce your risk of falls, which can be a serious hazard with running water, wet floor tiles, and a lack of secure handholds.

  • Enjoy more independence without needing to move into an assisted living facility and reduce your dependence on caregivers or loved ones while using the bathroom.

  • Ensure your bathroom is more accessible to yourself or other members of your household in the future.

  • Cultivate a more stylish, attractive bathroom with the latest accessibility solutions. Many companies create fixtures and products that look fantastic, so updating your bathroom to be more accessible could improve its aesthetic too.

  • Removing hazardous clutter and unnecessary fixtures can open up more space to move around safely.

What are the Most Important Things to Consider for an Accessible Bathroom?

Grab Bars and Rails

Installing grab bars or railings in your bathroom will provide a stable handhold to reduce your risk of falls. You can clutch these bars or railings while you move from one part of the bathroom to another without relying completely on your own balance or help.

They’re an essential addition if you’re unsteady on your feet, especially when condensation or water renders the floor slippery. These safety fixtures are common: of the 2.7 million Canadians living with a mobility disability, almost 38% use bathroom aids such as grab bars.

Grab bars and railings tend to be mounted in the following locations:

● Beside the toilet

● Next to a bath or shower

● Inside the bath or shower

● Beside the sink

● Virtually anywhere within the bathroom!

Wider Doorways

Trying to fit a wheelchair through your bathroom doorway may be difficult — or even impossible. You may need to be carried, or use crutches or another walking aid, to enter your bathroom instead.

However, expanding the width of your doorways will allow you to fit your wheelchair into the bathroom. It’s more convenient and safer.

Effective Lighting

It can be easy to overlook lighting when planning accessible bathroom design, but poor lighting can make staying safe in the bathroom more difficult. Perhaps the most important reason is that you may be unable to see water on the floor or an obstruction properly, and potentially injure yourself.

Lighting should also be user-friendly: install accessible lighting fixtures, or motion detector switches are an easy solution.

Accessible Storage

Storage (such as medicine cabinets or linen hampers) should be positioned within easy reach in an accessible bathroom.

Make sure that all storage is at a convenient level, even if you need to install shelves or lower your current medicine cabinet. Avoid anything that requires you to stretch up or down too far.

Roll-in Showers - Walk-in Bathtubs and Seated Showers

More than 20% of Canadians with a mobility disability rely on walk-in baths or showers.

Roll-in showers are the most accessible option because they don’t have any restrictions for entering or exiting the bathing area. They allow for any bathing aids like a shower chair to be rolled into the shower making for a safe transfer for the user and caregivers. A wall-mounted chair can be added if needed, or the shower can be left without one to allow for the use of any bathing aids like a mobile shower chair. A mobile shower chair will allow a caregiver to safely transfer the user from a safe transfer location and roll directly into the shower.

Step-in tubs will have up to 8” step and the user will need to step/climb over the edge of, which can be particularly dangerous for those with arthritis or hip problems. The step-in tubs take a long time to fill and empty leaving the user bare while waiting.

Toilet Height

The height of your toilet seat may be impractical and unsafe, even with a grab bar nearby. Switching to a higher or lower seat can make using the toilet easier and may eliminate the need for assistance.

Some accessible toilets include impressive features, such as bidet wash functions, heated seats, and more.

Accessible Taps

If you struggle to use taps with knobs, particularly those that have become stiff, switch to taps that are easy to turn on and off.

For example, you could consider motion-activated taps that require no gripping or turning. They will run water when they detect movement near the spout, and some models will switch off automatically when you move your hands away.

Safe Flooring

Laying non-slip flooring in your bathroom is a simple but effective safety precaution. Non-slip floor tiles with a textured surface will allow your feet a tighter grip and reduce the risk of a fall, even when wet.

When combined with grab bars and other safety fixtures, non-slip flooring can make your bathroom much more accessible.

How Can You Make Your Bathroom Accessible?

We hope this post has inspired you with ideas to make your bathroom accessible, safer, and more convenient.

Total Access Solutions offers freedom through accessible design. Our team will discuss your accessibility requirements, assess your current bathroom design, and work with you to identify the best changes based on your unique needs.

We can handle everything from installing grab bars in strategic positions to fully converting your bathroom to be safer. Contact our friendly team today to find out how we can provide you with a safer, more convenient bathroom.

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