Showers, Bathtubs and Wet Rooms – Making Your Bathroom More Accessible

by Rachel Laurendeau on December 17, 2012

As our population ages and more and more elderly people stay in their own homes into their later years, it is important to keep accessibility and mobility in mind when remodeling homes, paying particular attention to the bathrooms. Limited mobility may include anything from limited range of motion, instability, right up to the need for a walker or wheelchair. Following these tips can help you turn your bathroom into a safe, functional and beautiful room.

Wet room or shower room – a wet room is essentially a completely waterproof room that is fully tiled; the room itself becomes the shower enclosure with a drain in the floor and no need for a shower tray or pan. This type of room gives you an incredible amount of flexibility when it comes to layout so you can easily make it accessible and barrier-free. Wetrooms are more common in Europe than they are in North America so if you choose to go this route, make sure you work with a professional contractor who has experience with this type of bathroom remodeling and waterproofing. Take a look at the photo gallery from Advanced Wetrooms to see a wide variety of styles and ideas available for wet rooms.

Barrier-free showers – It can be next to impossible to roll into conventional shower in a wheelchair. Barrier-free showers have a very low profile pan making it easy to get in and out without assistance and are large enough for a wheelchair to turn 360 degrees. These showers also typically have grab bars and seats to make the entire experience easier.

Walk-in tubs –Since stepping over the tub ledge becomes more difficult with age or mobility restrictions, it is actually quite common for people to fall as they get in and out of conventional bathtubs. Walk-in tubs have a door that swings open completely so that the bather can walk right into the tub without the worry of slipping. Most walk-in tubs also come complete with grab bars and a seat.

Fixtures – no matter what style of shower or tub you choose, it is imperative that grab bars be well-installed according to ADA standards. Showerheads on slide bars allow you to adjust the height of the showerhead for each user. Additionally, handheld showerheads are easier to maneuver from a sitting position. If your tub or shower do not come equipped with a built-in bench, fold-down shower seats are a nice additional feature for comfort and safety.

Want to learn more about accessible design and the bathing options that are at your disposal? Talk to your local bathroom remodelers or home improvement experts.

If you found this blog article interesting, you may also want to read: Accessible Home Remodeling and Living With Arthritis.

What modifications have you made to your home to make it more accessible or barrier-free? Tell us about your remodeling in the comments section below.

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