Accessibility is often a concern discussed in relation to public spaces. But for those with reduced mobility, accessibility is a daily concern, even in their own homes. If your mobility has declined over the years, you might have noticed that some areas of your home are a lot more difficult to navigate than others. The most common culprit is the bathroom, which often has many accessibility issues. Here are some tips to follow to improve the accessibility and safety of your own bathroom.
Walk-In Bathtub or Shower
Often, the biggest obstacle in a traditional bathroom is the bathtub and/or shower. These spaces are essential for personal hygiene, but present many accessibility issues for those with reduced mobility. Bathtubs have high outer walls that you must climb over to enter the tub, and require you to sit on the level of the floor. Both of these can be difficult to do if you have reduced mobility, but upgrading to a walk-in bathtub can address both problems. Walk-in tubs have a door built into the wall, providing a low entry step, as well as an accessible seat that’s easy to get in and out of.
If you prefer a shower, the need to stand and maintain your balance throughout your showering routine can be difficult if you have reduced strength and mobility. A walk-in shower allows you to sit in a secure, comfortable seat as you wash, eliminating that issue. For those with reduced mobility, a walk-in tub or shower (or a combination of the 2) is essential to bathroom accessibility.
Grab bars are similar to railings on a stairway; they provide extra balance and support. However, they’re not limited to any single feature in your household like a stair railing is. Grab bars can be placed throughout your home to provide greater safety and accessibility. The bathroom is a common area that can benefit from installing grab bars.
Mount them to the wall just outside your tub or shower to help with getting in and out of them safely. Install them beside your toilet, so you can sit and stand from the toilet seat much more easily. There are many locations throughout your bathroom where a grab bar can improve accessibility, so be sure to install several of these if you’re improving the safety of your space.
Slippery surfaces can be a hazard to anyone, but for those with limited mobility, a little slip is much more likely to result in a serious fall, as you’re less able to recover your balance quickly. For this reason, it’s important that you include non-slip mats in appropriate locations in your bathroom—primarily beside the bathtub and shower. Having mats in these spots allows you to dry your feet before stepping onto the tile, so you don’t have to worry as much about slipping. Just be sure the mats you choose have a gripping surface on the bottom, so they don’t slide on your tile; you can also use double-sided rug tape to secure them in place.
If you’re looking to improve the safety in your bathroom, contact us to learn more about walk-in tubs for senior citizens.