How to Make Your Existing Bathroom Handicap Friendly
If you are faced with major challenges in the family, such as disability, you will have to do a lot of adjustments. One very important adjustment you have to make is to make your existing bathroom handicap friendly. We all know that most fixtures and bathroom designs have been made especially for people who are able and mobile. So how do you modify your existing bathroom for it to be convenient not only for able, but disabled people as well?
The Bath Room Entrance
The first thing you would have to apply changes to will be your bathroom. If your door is less than 38 inches, it would surely be difficult for a regular wheelchair to go through. A door that is 38 inches will let a wheelchair through, but it might be difficult for the person to open and close as well. You can consider a sliding door or a D-shaped lever or handle, instead of the regular knobs we have. You can also opt to remove the door completely and design other ways for privacy.
The Flooring of the Bathroom
You will need enough space in the bathroom for the person in wheelchair to manoeuvre and move around. A 1.5 meter diameter space is ideal for a complete turn- around. Make sure to clear the floor of clutter – no hampers, plants, trash bins, not even rugs. Invest in anti-slip or textured tiles to prevent slips and other accidents.
Part of the reason why your bathroom should be clutter-free is that your handicapped loved one must be able to easily access the toilet. It is a challenge for them to move from the wheelchair to the toilet seat and vice versa. To make it easier for them, you can consider buying a raised toilet seat, or buy a toilet safety frame, which can attach to the toilet. They are available in different designs and weight capacities, so make sure to choose one that best suits the needs of the one using it.
The Bathroom Sink
You will have to move your bathroom sink countertop lower to about 30 inches from the floor so washing the hands can be possible even in a wheelchair. You will also have to remove any under-sink cabinets so there is enough space for the knees and the footrest of the wheelchair.
The Bath Tub
Another challenging aspect about making a bathroom handicapped-friendly is the bath tub or shower. It is quite difficult to turn your bath or shower area accessible for them. You can consider getting a transfer shower bench or a shower seat. Better yet, it is best if you can invest in a walk-in bathtub that is designed especially for people with mobility problems. These walk-in tubs have doors and seats that make bathing more convenient for people in wheelchairs. They are also equipped with grab bars and anti-slip surfaces for maximum protection.
You will need to invest some amount in remodelling your bathroom to make it handicapped friendly. But it is always a worthwhile investment as it means utmost protection and comfort of your loved one.