Choosing the right bathroom adaptations for you or a family member can be difficult, not just in terms of what can be practical or affordable but also because these choices are often presented at the same time as other issues in our lives.
Such issues can be wide ranging, as we get older it isn’t unusual to find it more difficult to do the things we once took for granted. Your need for living aids might also coincide with a decline in your own or a loved one’s health or a long term condition. Then again you might be planning for the future and a time when you might rely on a more accessible bathroom and other daily living aids throughout your home.
It is important to remember that these modifications, however hard they may be to come to terms with are aimed at one very important thing… Making life easier and preserving independence.
Here are the main bathroom modifications you might consider to do that:
Baths and showers
If you have a condition that makes bathing unsafe then you might want to consider installing a shower tray, the size of which might depend on your bathroom. If you decide to replace the bath completely, that free space can often be used, particularly if you require a shower chair and larger cubicle. This can often make plumbing easier as the new shower can use the existing plumbing and drainage from the old bath.
If your bathroom is spacious, you might wish to think about keeping a bath for others in your home or take a look at baths in different shapes and tap styles. There are also a range of specialist baths on the market which can suit many people with more complex needs.
These are designed to keep the rest of your bathroom dry when using the shower, they come in several different types:
Full height screens come in a range of different styles with a door to seal off the shower area; they are often tri- or bi-fold in design and are made from toughened safety glass.
Half height shower screens are useful if help and support is needed when showering as they allow another person to help more easily.
Portable shower screens can be ideal for bathrooms with limited space; they have the advantage of being placed exactly where you need them and if support is needed, they can help prevent a carer from getting wet.
Basins and taps
There are a range of different basins available, depending on factors such as whether the user will be standing or seated. They might be wall mounted, with space below for wheelchair access or even height adjustable through manual or powered means.
Basins also come in a range of different shapes, such as ones with wider sides to support forearms and adapted taps with lever style handles for ease of use for those with impaired mobility.
Toilets can often be too low or situated in a part of the bathroom that is no longer easily accessed. Careful thought might be needed, if you are thinking about a higher toilet, around where it is situated and how it is accessed, particularly for those who rely on wheelchairs and walking aids. Help and advice from an Occupational Therapist can help to make sure you get this right.
They will also be able to offer help and advice on the positioning of grab rails and the space required if support is needed as well as aspects such as flush control or adaptations to raise the height of an existing toilet.
Doors and flooring
Bathroom floors are often wet, making trips and falls a risk, therefore the right type of flooring is an important adaptation to consider.
Bathroom flooring should have the right levels of slip resistance, with any thresholds carefully planned to avoid trip hazards or obstacles for wheelchairs and walking aids. Colour and material might also be a factor for those with a visual impairment as the glare they produce in bright light can often pose problems with orientation.
Doorways too might benefit from widening and changes to the way in which they swing open and closed for improved access for wheelchairs and walking aids.
It is important to remember that help and support is available in assessing which adaptations are best for the needs of an individual and how those needs might change going forwards. An Occupational Therapist can really help you to plan the adaptations you need and a trusted company with all the multiple trade skills and experience in carrying out bathroom modifications can work with you to create it.
For help and advice about bathroom adaptations or any other modifications you are planning for your home get in touch via our website or call us on 01432 272 188.