One of the things that we tend to pride ourselves in as human beings is how diverse we are. How we are not a-one-size-fits-all species and how our strength lies in our diversity. This is the rallying call of many corporations and movements now.
This diversity is also applicable to people living with disabilities and as a society, we have many shortcomings in making our environment accessible for people with disabilities. Many buildings don’t have entrances designed for people with disabilities and the ones that do have are poorly designed and maintained.
This lack has spilled over into the living conditions for those with disabilities. They find it difficult to find homes that accommodate their diverse needs and many people do not attempt to even accommodate them. Sometimes they can find a home with some form of access but the rooms in the home, like the bathroom, are not built for their needs. This is a huge issue and chances are we know someone who has problems accessing their bathrooms due to their disabilities. This accessibility issue even applies to those who are senior citizens so our mothers, fathers, grandparents might need their bathrooms reworked to make them more accessible. This is where this guide comes in. Making a bathroom more accessible might seem like a tasking adventure but this guide will help you get it right.
Put In A Handicap Shower Stall With A Seat
A shower for a person with a disability should have a zero-entry barrier, meaning there should be no obstruction on the floor so they can easily walk or roll their wheelchair into the shower. You should also install grab bars so they can easily hold on to them and also a seat like the MJM tilt slider all-purpose shower chair d118-5-tis for them to have a comfortable shower. These are crucial installations for the independence of people with disabilities.
Lower The Cabinets
Many bathrooms in homes have the cabinets mounted high up and these are usually out of reach for people with mobility issues. Ask the contractor or whoever is refurbishing the bathroom to lower the cabinets and even remove the doors from some of them. These doors can get in the way of whoever is using the bathroom and are better removed.
Change The Flooring
Bathrooms are notoriously slippery and this is a huge risk for everyone, not just people with disabilities. Have slip-resistant flooring instead to prevent falls and also remove slip hazards like bathroom mats and rugs from the floor as moving over them with a wheelchair is difficult.
Lower The Electrical Fixtures
You want to make it easier for them to reach light switches and other fixtures so ask the electrician to place them in reachable places that reflect the needs of the bathroom user. You can also add more lighting to the bathrooms by adding a window or installing new light fixtures to brighten the room.
Think Of The Door
If the person is in a wheelchair, you would want to adjust the doors to accommodate them as wheelchairs require a lot of space. You can also get a sliding door as these are easier to operate especially for those that might have joint pain and other issues.
Adjust Sink And Toilet Height
This should always be dependent on the needs of the person using the bathroom. If they are using a wheelchair, you want the sink to be low enough that it can be used from a seated position but if the individual can walk but has issues bending then you want the sink to be higher than usual. Remove the cabinets under the sink and include faucets that are easy to operate. This also applies to the toilet and you can add a base beneath the toilet to raise it several inches.
Ask The User
After you have made the important adjustments, have them come in and make their observations. Many times you may have overlooked an important change and only the user can take note of that. If the bathroom is for you, just move in and try and do a bathroom routine and see if it flows well and ask for additional changes if needed. Accessibility goes hand in hand with comfort and independence. People with disabilities do not want to be burdens and making their homes more accessible gives them power over their homes and choices so invest in a handicap-accessible bathroom and make their lives exponentially better.