Remodeling a bathroom for accessibility is different from one based on home value or aesthetics. It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure that all fixtures and fittings provide ease of use and safety to its users. Having a bathroom that is safe and comfortable is worth the investment for anyone who wants to age in place. Costs of remodeling may continue to rise if you lack a clear picture of what you want in a bathroom designed for accessibility. The changes you make to an accessible bathroom should be effective enough to accommodate what might be needed in the future. This article looks into several ways you can maintain style when remodeling your bathroom for accessibility.
1. Bathroom Sink and Vanity Accessibility
When remodeling your bathroom for accessibility, it is important to ensure that your sink is mounted with no cabinet underneath. This makes it easier for both seated and standing users as it provides open knee space for people in wheelchairs. Single-handle faucets should be installed in a way that can be easily turned on or adjusted without being twisted or grabbed. Install an extra-long mirror that can be used by anyone and a sturdy vanity to grab on when maneuvering around the bathroom. You can also increase accessible storage options by installing low drawers that can be pulled out fully. Although a vanity with electrically adjustable height counters is more expensive, it provides ease of access to all users.
2. Walk-in Bathtubs
If you don’t prefer a shower or you feel a step-in tub isn’t the right choice for you, you can always look for additional tub or shower options. Bathtubs that are designed with a watertight seal are more convenient as you can easily walk in and close the door behind you to take a bath. This allows you to get in and out of your bathtub without any trouble while enjoying the benefit of sitting down and relaxing for a warm bath. This tub is preferred by the elderly because they help ease aches and pains. However, these tubs are not for everyone since they require a separate shower. Since many tubs are harder to access as you age, it is always important to set up your bathroom for things that could be an issue in their near future.
3. A First Floor Accessible Bathroom
One of the best ways to reduce risk when your house has stairs is to build an accessible bathroom on the first floor. Some two-story homes have one bathroom that is close to the bedrooms and can only be accessed upstairs. Although this used to make sense sometimes back, it creates problems for the elderly who have to climb the stairs every time they want to take a bath. Building an accessible bathroom on the first floor makes it convenient for the elderly. However, it may force you to give up some room if you lack enough space to accommodate a bathroom.
4. Bathroom Toilet Accessibility
According to ADA guideline recommendations, the most comfortable height for all users is 17 to 19 inches. However, installing a higher toilet seat makes it easier to stand, lower, or transfer from a walker or wheelchair to the toilet. If you cannot replace the toilet, you can add height using thicker toilet seats. People who find it difficult to use a toilet paper for cleaning can achieve good hygiene and more privacy with a bidet. It prevents a user from stretching out to get a toilet paper. Install a grab bar on one side or both sides of the toilet to offer stability when lowering or raising yourself from the toilet.
5. Bathroom Lighting
It is important to consider the level of visibility when remodeling your bathroom for accessibility because good lighting is essential for users’ safety. Light switches need to be a little bit lower so that they can easily be accessed by someone in a wheelchair. Avoid glare by distributing extra light over the entire bathroom. Dimmers are very flexible since they can provide brightness based on users’ needs. You can also install motion detector lights for people who have a hard time accessing light switches.
Remodeling a bathroom for accessibility may involve spending extra costs on fixtures and fittings that provide convenience to the elderly or those with different ability levels. All these features allow you to maintain style while making things easier for all users. An accessible bathroom can also be designed based on the specific needs of a user to give them peace of mind and a sense of belonging in their home.