How Can I Make My Bathroom More Accessible?


How Can I Make My Bathroom More Accessible?Ask people to rank the most important rooms in their house and you can bet the kitchen and the master bathroom will be at the top of the list. For homeowners intending to age in place, keeping those two spaces fully accessible is of the utmost importance. Basic modifications like pull-down shelves can go a long way toward ensuring the kitchen continues to be a place where meals can be prepared by someone with limited mobility. In the case of bathrooms, more extensive modifications may be required to keep bathing enclosures and the areas around them safe and accessible for individuals with mobility challenges. The good news is that it’s possible to remake any bathroom into a welcoming environment with upgrades ranging from simple tweaks to total transformations.

Grab Bars and Hand Rails

If all you need to feel more confident in the bathroom are a few extra handholds, then grab bars and handrails are a quick way to significantly reduce the risk of a fall. Grab bars can be positioned either horizontally or vertically in the bathing enclosure at any height. Bars come in many shapes and sizes, from 90-degree wrap-around grabrails to strategically placed rings, poles, and swing-out bars. Handrails can also be added around the toilet and along the wall to provide stability when navigating to the vanity, closet, or shower. Installation usually takes only a few hours and future alterations can be made with minimal disruption to your bath.

Low- and No-Threshold Showers

A bathtub can be one of two things: a place to relax and soak away the stress of the day, or an obstacle you have to overcome in order to shower. If it’s the latter, converting your traditional tub and shower combo into a low- or no-threshold stall may be the perfect way to make your bathroom more accessible. Low-threshold enclosures have a two-inch shower pan to control water drainage. Since they still create a small curb, they are not ideal for wheelchairs. No-threshold showers are flush with the bathroom floor, making them roll-in accessible. A slightly sloped floor and strategically placed showerhead control water drainage.

Walk-In Tubs

For those who love taking baths, a walk-in tub provides a deep basin in which to soak while still offering easy entry and exit comparable to a low-threshold shower. With their waterproof doors, comfort-height seating, and massaging jets, these bathing enclosures create a spa-like experience that’s accessible for those with moderate mobility limitations. Walk-in tubs come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be accessorized with features such as heated seating, grab bars, shower wands, and chromotherapy lighting. Since walk-in tubs are designed to fit into your exiting bathing space, rerouting plumbing is usually not necessary. In most cases, installation can be completed in as little as one day.

Custom Bath and Shower Systems

Walk-in tubs and low- and no-threshold showers are replacement modifications, which means the original bathing space must first be removed. There is, however, an alternative for homeowners who do not what to have to deal with a full bathroom renovation. Custom bath and shower systems can be designed as add-ons rather than replacements. These systems are built on-site from waterproof materials and provide convenient transport from chair to toilet and toilet to bath. Some of the many options available include upright rolling chairs, transfer benches, bath recliners, bath-to-bed slide transfers, and many others.

Your Aging-in-Place Specialist

If you live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and are thinking about renovating a bathroom to make it more accessible, the company to turn to is the Barrier Free Store. As a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), we have an unrivaled level of expertise when it comes to providing products and services to remove obstacles and improve safety throughout the home. Reach out to us today and schedule a complimentary home assessment to get the ball rolling!

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