How to Redo a Residential Shower for the Disabled
The bathroom area is one of the most important places in a home for a disabled resident because of the difficulties often involved in mobility and independence. Depending on the type of disability, the bathroom can require an extensive remodeling project or a simple retro-fitting, which can be cheaper. The variables involved that will determine what type of expense and time is involved in making a shower area accessible, is also dependent on the expertise of the homeowner as well as how much is available to invest in the project.
Consider the Type of Disability Needs
The difference between making a shower area accessible for someone in a wheelchair compared to someone who is on crutches, can be quite broad. Wheelchair accessibility may require a complete remodeling of the shower area, which includes widening the entrance, removing the shower curb and providing a non-slip surface. Those who are on crutches or have some mobility, may be able to function well in a moderately redone shower environment. This may include only lowering the shower curb, installing safety railing around the walls of the shower and installing non-skid strips to the floor. You will need to install a moveable shower head for ease of use as well. It’s possible that you won’t even need to lower the curb, if he or she can step over that area.
About Simple Retro-fitting
A simple retro-fitting may also include installing a fold up seat to the shower wall, which makes taking a shower much easier for a disabled person. If you don’t want to install a seat to the wall, there are also portable, adjustable seats that can be placed in the shower area. This allows a person to easily sit while showering off with an extendable shower head. Be sure to make plans for easy placement of toiletry items like a soap holder and towel rack. Make sure that safety railing is always within reach, no matter what angle a person is in, whether sitting or standing.
It is generally better to install a simple shower curtain, rather than use rigid shower doors, which can obstruct movement. The more open the shower area, the better. You easily find curved shower rods that allow more reach room in the shower by curving the shower curtain outward. Providing an accessible shower for anyone in the home who is handicapped is an important remodeling consideration that will allow them more independence, provide much better safety and give them the freedom to enjoy a hot shower unattended.