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Handicap Accessible Bathroom – Creating a Design That Works

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Meaning

handicap bathrooms

A handicap accessible bathroom encompasses three things, independent, accessible and multi-generational living.

(1) Independent Living means that the bathroom is both user-friendly and comfortable without the need to compromise style or safety. The bathroom remains functional for everyone in the house.

(2) Accessible Living occurs when your bathroom is built to accommodate family members that are suffering from short or long term injuries or are being challenged with ongoing mobility problems.

Such accommodations can still be both comfortable and stylish while still meeting all of your family’s needs.

(3) Multi-Generational Living is becoming more prevalent these days. Some 50 million American’s live in multi-generational homes. Living under one roof has proven to bring more families closer together than ever before and having bathrooms that are accessible and safe for the entire family must be taken into account.

Living under one roof has proven to bring more families closer together and having bathrooms that are accessible and safe for the entire family are they type of accommodations that families are having to make.

The Benefits of a Handicap Accessible Bathroom

What is the most important room in your house especially if you are caring for your elderly parent? It’s the bathroom, of course, and an aging in place bathroom remodel may be what is needed.

The two biggest benefits for designing a handicap accessible bathroom are safety and accessibility. Kids, as well as aging parents, will feel safer and more comfortable in a bathroom that caters to their needs.

Once a parent becomes disabled just going to the bathroom can seem like a nightmare, especially if this has to be done with the assistance of a loved one.

The more challenging that bathing becomes it increases the likelihood that the parent’s personal hygiene will begin to suffer. They simply will no longer have the motivation to bathe themselves.

A custom handicap accessible bathroom design, many times, will allow a disabled parent or child to bathe themselves and use the bathroom without the assistance of another person.

7 Bathroom Remodeling Tips To Create a Handicap Accessible Bathroom Design

  1. Install a walk-in (accessible) shower.

handicap walk in shower

It’s all too easy to lose your grip and slip when you are up in age. Both kids and elderly need safer and easier access to get in the shower. There is a fix to help reduce falling while taking a shower.

A curbless entry shower is the perfect bathing solution that can enrich the quality of life and are meant to replace high entry shower units.

This helps to reduce the risk of a fall or injury while at the same time allowing all family members to retain their confidence and independence.

A walk-in shower helps make bathing safe, luxurious and simple again.

2.  Install a walk-in (safe-step) bathtub.

walk in bathtub

When’s the last time you drew a tub of hot bath water, got in and allowed the problems of the day be washed away? How did you feel after you were done? Did you emerge refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go?

Well, for many people the luxury of taking a bath has become a thing of the past. Age and mobility issues have robbed them of one of life’s great but simple pleasures.

Traditional bathtubs have a 1 1/2 foot wall but for those who are up in age, it may as well be a 6-foot wall.

Stepping into a slippery tub, a task that most of us take for granted, requires a certain degree of balance and coordination that many people simply no longer have.

Imagine family members who have the challenges described above now being able to simply walk into a tub and enjoy the bath they’ve been missing.

A safe step tub will help those with mobility challenges to be able to stay in the home they love and they will barely have to lift their feet to step in the tub because the step up is barely 4 inches in height.

3.  Install a taller (ADA compliant) toilet.

ada compliant toilet

People who are very tall, as well as elderly people, have challenges sitting down and getting up from toilet seats.

The standard toilet seat measures anywhere from 14.5-17 inches from the floor to the top of the toilet bowl.

ADA compliant toilets must be between 17-19 inches as required by Federal law.

Comfort height toilets are about 2 inches taller than regular toilets which aid in the challenge most people with mobility challenges have with sitting and standing from a toilet. Having a taller toilet installed will help remedy this problem.

4. Install handrails or grab bars.

bathroom handrails

Handrails and grab bars are essential elements of a safe and accessible bath. Grab bars can really help family members in your home who have limited mobility.

Grab bars come in a variety of sizes and styles to match your bathroom decor so you won’t have to sacrifice style for safety.

There are 3 key places for grab bars or handrails. Next to shower or tub, in the shower and next to the toilet. A vertical handrail installed next to the shower can make getting in and out a lot easier.

A vertical handrail installed next to the shower can make getting in and out a lot easier.

This is much more reliable and safer than using a towel rack for support. A longer grab bar next to the shower can accommodate people of different heights.

A horizontal grab bar in the shower is great to help those taking a shower be able to move forward and backward.

However, if there’s going to be a seat in the shower it may be better to mount it diagonally so that a person can lower themselves to sit down and use the grab bar as leverage when they need to get back up.

A grab bar installed diagonally near the toilet will make it easier to sit down and get up.

For extra help, you can add handles on the side of the toilet. Grab bars in these three areas can really be helpful to family members with limited mobility.

5.  Customize the sink to accommodate wheelchair access.

wheelchair accessibility bathroom sinks

There are many ways to customize sink designs in your bathroom to make them wheelchair accessible. Wall-mounted sinks can be bolted to the custom height desired for the intended family member’s use.

If the wheelchair bound family member would prefer to drive up underneath the sink it can be put to the height that ergonomically serves them. Having a faucet that serves the personal mechanics of the wheelchair bound family member can make handwashing a joy.

Also, having a faucet that serves the personal mechanics of for all family members can make handwashing a joy.

And I’m sure you would agree that having an alternative shelf system, either closed or open, would further help facilitate the ease of daily care for all family members as well.

6.  Install wider bathroom doors.

bathroom rooms

Having a wider entrance to the bathroom anywhere between 32 and 36 inches is ideal. This helps prevent wheelchair bound family members from bumping into narrow doorways.

Other options you may want to consider is a zero-step bathroom entrance, as well as sliding door because these features are more disabled-friendly.

7. Install motion sensor (touchless) bathroom faucets.

touchless bathroom faucet

A bathroom faucet should be easy to tap on or tap off or you can go completely touch free.

Delta’s Tesla bathroom collection even offers touchless faucets that give you a visual and color indication of your water temperature so you will know if its cold, warm or hot before placing your hands in the water.

A touchless faucet is a great addition to any bathroom where someone in the home has limited use of their hands or is suffering from a crippling disease like arthritis.

Final Thoughts

Multi-generational homes are here to stay and builders are now offering floor plans that provide grown children or elderly parents with a complete living unit within a house. Handicap accessible bathroom is one aspect of this new design that helps create a home within a home.

A handicap accessible bathroom is just one aspect of this new design that helps create a home within a home.

In a thoughtful manner, these types of designs allow your family members to live independently yet dependently in one space. I’m sure you will agree that family is the reason for living.

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