If you or a loved one has special requirements due to accessibility, it’s important that your bathroom meets those needs to provide you or other users with comfort and accessibility. There are certain steps to take in order to ensure the space is easy to use, and most often these changes can be made quickly.
Invest in a Roll-in Shower
Tubs are very difficult to access for those in wheelchairs or those who have trouble walking. Creating a curb-less shower stall removes any barriers, allowing full access for those who cannot maneuver over a tub wall or curb. Make sure when renovating that your walk-in shower is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or shower chair. Installing a built-in seat is also a good idea for those who want the option of sitting while showering.
Invest in an Accessible Bath
A safety tub is a bathtub that fills and drains after you’ve entered and sat down. Unlike a normal bathtub, the safety tub has tall walls and a swinging door, making it easy to step in and out. If a walk-in shower doesn’t appeal to you, these can be an excellent option.
Add Hardware for Stability
There are a variety of both functional and stylish hardware options for your handicap accessible bathroom. Often times you can add hardware to your existing bathroom without making major renovation changes. Adding the following features are a great starting point in making your bathroom more accessible:
»Grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet
»Removable shower head with a long shower hose
»Easy push/pull or motion-sensor sink handles
Expand the Door Opening
Wheelchairs require a lot of space, so the bathroom door should be adjusted to make it as easy as possible for an individual to enter and depart. According to ADA requirements explained on Buildings.com, a single-user bathroom should include:
»30”x 48” access to the sink
»A clear circle of 60” or more allowing a wheelchair to turn
»A center line of the toilet at least 16” from the wall
Although these requirements are for public restrooms, following them as guidelines for your home’s restroom can maximize accessibility and comfort.
Adjust Height of Sinks
Depending on your needs, sink heights may need to be adjusted to make them easier to use, especially for those using a wheelchair. Make sure that sinks are low enough to be accessed from the seated position and include faucets that are easy to reach and operate. Removing under-sink cabinets and opting for a pedestal sink will allow an individual to get as close as possible. However, if an individual can walk but has trouble bending, a higher sink may be the best option.
Adjust Height of Toilet
Like the bathroom sink, a toilet also needs to be accessible from the seated position. This often means a replacement with a longer base, or the addition of base beneath the toilet that would raise the unit several inches.