How to Make Your Bathroom More Handicap Accessible

Making your home handicap accessible can be a challenge, perhaps no more so than in the typical bathroom. Here’s a short list of things to consider when making your bathroom easier for a handicapped person to negotiate.

Doors and Vanities

In most homes, bathrooms are usually the least accessible room in the house. This is often because bathrooms are normally the smallest room in the house, but also because the standard bathroom often only has 24″ or 30″ doors.

So obviously, in order to make your bathroom handicap accessible, widening the doorway to 32″ (straight-on approach) or 36″ (allows for an angled approach) so a wheelchair can fit is the first step. Next, if you have a cabinet style bathroom vanity, it needs to be removed and a wall mounted sink should be put in its place (pedestal mount sinks aren’t quite as good for handicapped use, but are often workable).

Adjust Accessibility

You’ll also want to look at the height of the sink, medicine cabinet, mirror, and light switches – chances are, they’ll all need to be lowered. Make sure the faucets are reachable, and be sure to investigate adding faucets with a touch-free sensor to your home as well.

By the way, bathroom light switches probably aren’t the only switches in your home that need to be lowered. Be sure to check the whole house.

Toilet and Tub

Continuing with the bathroom, the toilet needs to be equipped with a riser that is usually between 17″ and 19″ tall, or a special raised toilet needs to be installed. A little extra height makes it easier for someone in a wheel chair to transfer to and from the stool. Also, install toilet grab bars for safety reasons.

A bathtub can be especially hard to maneuver into for someone in a wheel chair. A tub seat and mounted grab bars keep people from having to lower themselves down into the tub and a transfer bench allows for sliding into the tub. Also, getting over the side of the tub can still present problems, so you might consider a side-opening bathtub.

Lastly, you might consider replacing your bathtub with a shower, which is more accessible than a bathtub and usually easier for a handicapped person to use. “Roll-in” showers make it particularly easy to transfer to a shower seat when appropriately mounted grab bars are installed. Special shower wheel chairs are also available, which can be rolled into the shower without hurting the chair.

Author Miguel Salcido writes for SimplyBathtubs.com, which sells high quality walk-in bathtubs online.

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