Recently Confined to a Wheelchair? 4 Strategies for Making Your Bathroom Accessible

Written by  //  January 27, 2019  //  Home Construction  //  Comments Off on Recently Confined to a Wheelchair? 4 Strategies for Making Your Bathroom Accessible

wheelchair accessible bathroom

One of the greatest challenges for wheelchair users is bathroom accessibility. If you have recently found yourself confined to a wheelchair, a bathroom redesign will make your life significantly easier.

Start with the Shower and Tub

Standard bathtubs and showers can be dangerous for anyone, even if they don’t use a wheelchair. Therefore, you want to make yours as accessible as possible. Start by installing a grab bar on every wall that is accessible from the shower. Porcelain shower chairs can be installed to give you a place to sit. If this isn’t a possibility, consider a plastic shower chair or stool; the chair can be removed later so that other people can use the shower.

Next, consider how easy it is to get into the shower. The ideal wheelchair-accessible shower is level with the floor, and doesn’t have a curb that you can trip over. Make sure that the shower is wide enough to completely turn around in, or for a second person to assist you should there be need.

To prevent accidents, remember to install textured tile on the bottom of the shower, or find a non-slip rubber bath mat. Finally, you should make sure that all bath products are easy to reach; consider adding shelves or a soap rack to make your soap accessible without needing to bend over or reach.

Make Sure You Can Reach the Sink

To make a sink wheelchair accessible, start by removing any shelving underneath, so that there is space for a wheelchair user. Check that the rim of the sink isn’t too wide to lean across, and install sink handles that can be turned easily from a slight distance. Finally, make sure that the mirror is low enough to use, or install a tilting mirror than can be used by people of different heights.

Install an Accessible Toilet

The transfer onto and off of the toilet can be difficult for someone confined to a wheelchair. Taller toilets are easier to use than shorter ones, since there is less distance to lower oneself onto. You should also add a grab bar to one or both walls nearby, and check that the toilet paper dispenser is easy to reach.

Ensure You Have Enough Space

The biggest issue for a wheelchair user may be that there is not enough space in the bathroom. First, check that the doorway is wide enough to move in and out of. The bathroom itself should have enough space to turn around completely in your wheelchair, transfer yourself into the shower or onto the toilet, and receive assistance is something goes wrong. It’s also a good idea to ensure that everything, from the sink to the shelves, is strong enough to grab onto if you slip. Check that all bathroom items are accessible, and install lower shelves if you have to. To prevent accidents, make sure everything is well lit, and that the light switches are within reach.

If you’ve been recently confined to a wheelchair, you may have a lot to do to restore your lifestyle. From in-home assistants to Social Security lawyers, you’ll find many people who are there to help you with the transition. Take things slow, and enjoy the opportunity to redesign your home; there’s no reason you can’t have the bathroom of your dreams.

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