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How to choose an accessible bathroom design that works for you

Bathrooms can become a dangerous place for anyone with mobility limitations related to age, injury, or physical disability.

Water spilling from a tap or an overflowing bathtub can transform the floor into a slippery service, creating the potential for a nasty fall. Climbing in and out of a tub or shower without assistance from a caregiver or spouse can present a severe safety hazard.

The simplest everyday tasks so many of us take for granted can become a significant risk. But an accessible bathroom offers a solution.

Implementing new bathroom fixtures, such as grab bars or a seated shower enclosure, can help restore your independence and improve your safety for years to come. However, there is a lot to think about before you start implementing changes.

In this post we will explore some of the key factors you need to consider when planning your accessible bathroom.

Be practical and realistic in your goals

Overhauling your bathroom can be a complicated process, especially when you are focusing on improving accessibility. It is easy to be wowed by the latest innovations and most stylish bathroom fixtures.

You may want to add certain features because they excite you and seem like a valuable addition to your home. But consider the activities you find most difficult in the bathroom and focus on getting the essentials right to start with instead.

For example, the latest, most expensive walk-in bathtub might look incredible, but will you use it? Or will it sit unused for most of the time because you prefer to take showers?

In that case an accessible roll in shower is a more practical purchase.

The money you save by not buying that luxury bathtub could be spent reinforcing safety in another part of the home, such as installing a stairlift to make moving from one floor to another easier and safer. Alternatively, a floor lift or pool lift may be more beneficial.

You may still be able to add more luxurious features later.

Never underestimate bathroom lighting

Good bathroom lighting is vital to minimize shadows and maximize visibility. The more you can see, the less likely you are to miss possible dangers.

Imagine walking from one side of the room to the other, unassisted, and missing a few drops of water scattered from a shower earlier in the day. That creates the potential for a fall.

And if you are alone in the house, you may be unable to get upright safely for some time.

But bright lighting will ensure wet patches stand out throughout the room, not just directly beneath the bulb.

One obvious, cost-effective way to improve the lighting in your bathroom is to increase window space. This will bring in more natural light during the day, reducing the length of time you need to keep your artificial lights switched on before nightfall.

Another excellent idea is motion detector lights. These will operate based on your movements and switch off when the bathroom is unoccupied to save electricity. They are terrific option if you struggle to reach switches.

Alternatively, you might wish to connect your lights to a smart device, so you can use voice commands instead.

Take advantage of grab bars to maximize functionality

Grab bars can transform your experience of using a bathroom independently. These simple fixtures provide secure handholds at specific positions, such as beside the toilet and shower.

For example, transferring from your wheelchair to the toilet or shower seat will be much easier and safer with a few grab bars strategically fitted.

Assuming that they should only be positioned by the toilet or shower/bathtub is limited the full value they provide — they could improve safety by the basin, or doorway, or even by your towel closet.

Consider everything you do in your bathroom currently, then try to imagine how difficult these tasks could become if you experience more mobility difficulties in the future.

Plan for potential future issues

Following on from the previous tip, prepare your bathroom for potential accessibility issues that may arise in the future.

Such as?

Perhaps you will need to bring a caregiver into your home to help yourself or a loved one perform certain tasks, such as getting dressed or showering.

In this case, your bathroom should be big enough to accommodate at least two people comfortably and safely. This might require removing certain fixtures or features to open your bathroom up.

It is best to speak with accessibility experts when planning changes to your bathroom. They will be able to spot opportunities to improve safety and add new fixtures with the power to increase independence.

Without their help, you may overlook issues that need to be addressed later, possibly incurring extra expense.

Choose a company with years of experience and a positive reputation

Take the time to find the right accessibility company when you are ready to make changes to your bathroom. Spend the time looking at multiple companies— investigate their history, reputation, and policies. This extra time at the beginning of the process will help avoid unnecessary issues in the future.

This is a major step in improving accessibility in your home, for yourself and/or loved ones. You want to enjoy total peace of mind that you have chosen a business committed to delivering the results you expect.

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