Walk-in showers are an excellent bathroom upgrade that promotes safety and convenience for those with more limited mobility. But while walk-in showers are so much safer than standard showers, they do still require the use of some important safety features that further improve the shower’s accessibility and safety. Keep reading to learn what important safety features your bathroom walk-in shower needs and how they can make your bathroom even safer.
The Right Base
When planning out your walk-in shower, you’ll need first to pick out the shower base you want. The base you choose should have a very low threshold or, better yet, no threshold at all to eliminate any potential tripping hazard. The base’s surface should also be of a slip-resistant material to help you avoid any slips and falls while showering.
Your walk-in shower should also have grab handles or bars that you can use for support when entering, exiting, and using the shower. You should ensure your bars and handles are capable of supporting your weight and are installed at the proper height for use. (This is typically between 33 and 36 inches above the floor.) Talk with your contractor about where and how the grab bars should be installed for maximum efficiency while using the shower.
If you have a walk-in shower without grab handles, some can be purchased and installed onto your existing shower without drilling any holes. Just make sure that they’re ensured securely; a handle that falls off when you try to grab it isn’t going to be much help to anyone!
Proper lighting is one thing you might not think about when considering bathroom safety features. However, the truth is that poor lighting leads to many slips and falls, especially among aging individuals whose vision is not what it used to be. If the general lighting in your bathroom doesn’t fully illuminate your shower stall, you should consider installing a light directly over the shower to provide full and complete illumination. This helps you to better see exactly where you’re placing your feet so you don’t slip or trip on anything that may have fallen on the floor during your shower.
If you have a hard time standing for extended periods or if you struggle with balance, a shower bench or seat is absolutely essential. You can have these built into a custom walk-in shower, or you can purchase a separate shower seat and place it inside your shower stall. These provide the option to sit as you wash yourself, eliminating the need to balance, twist, and bend to fully clean your body while standing on a slippery surface.
Handheld Shower Heads
You might think of handheld showerheads as a convenient upgrade, but they can also improve the safety of users who aren’t as stable on their feet as they once were. Standing under a stream of water and tipping back your head can actually disrupt some people’s balance enough to cause them to fall. A handheld showerhead removes the necessity for this by allowing you to completely wash yourself in either a sitting or standing position.