Five ways to make bathrooms safe for the disabled

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If you have a disabled person in your family or have recently become disabled yourself, making sure that your home is easy and safe for everyday life will be a number one priority.

One of the most important rooms to think about when adding features for disabled access is the bathroom. Even for able-bodied people the bathroom holds a host of hazards, so you need to make sure that you do all you can to make your bathroom safe and easy to use.

1. Access

If you need to adapt your bathroom for wheelchair use, the first challenge that you’ll face is ensuring easy access to the space.

Doorways should be at least three foot wide and ideally you should have four feet of clear space in front of any fixtures, to allow ease of use. If you’ve got the room, try to have the centre of your bathroom clear of clutter and furnishings. A diameter of around five feet is perfect for someone in a wheelchair to move around easily.

2. Showers

Showers can be a real hazard for both the disabled and the elderly. To make them easier and safer to use, you may need to consider investing in a brand new shower unit from Premier Bathrooms.

Having a unit that’s flush to the floor – i.e. doesn’t require the user to step up or down to enter – and with a wide doorway will help disabled people to use the shower more easily.

You also need to consider installing a shower seat and an adjustable showerhead and controls for ease of use.

3. Grab rails

Grab rails not only help to prevent trips and falls, they also help disabled people to move around a bathroom and use all of the fixtures easily.

Grab rails can be installed fairly cheaply in most bathrooms and are most useful around the bath and toilet, but you need to consider the height at which they’re fitted to ensure they are effective. You also need to ensure they’re fitted professionally and securely without any chance of danger, damage or injury.

4. Bath mats

Bath mats are a cheap, discreet and practical addition to any bathroom and can make a huge difference to the accessibility of disabled people.

Placing special non-slip mats in the shower, bath and on the floor can dramatically prevent slips and falls. This will give the elderly and disabled a lot more confidence when using the space and can prevent nasty accidents.

5. Water temperature

Scalds and burns are a serious consideration, especially for those who have lost sensitivity in their extremities. To help prevent burns you can invest in a mixing tap that limits the temperature to around 50˚C, eradicating the problem altogether.

Adapting a bathroom for disabled use is fairly straight forward; all it requires is a little bit of common sense and understanding. So if you or someone you care about needs a more accessible bathroom, why not get started today.

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6 Responses to "Five ways to make bathrooms safe for the disabled"
  1. Abi says:

    so important to follow these tips – necessity

  2. Absolutely, there are many aspects to take into account when caring for the elderly/disabled, with the bathroom being hugely important.

    Rails are particularly helpful, and should be a staple in most homes.

  3. Doreen says:

    We are an elderly couple. My husband is 92 and has had falls. I am 78 and have a condition where I am also subject to falls. I am in a wheelchair 80% of the time. we need advice about bathmats. we only have one which does not slip. We bought this from Costco but they do not have it anymore. It is very thick and heavy so stays in place but takes a long while to dry and needs frequent washing due to my husband having bowel incontinence. I can not find one to fit the purpose so we have days and nights without a bathmat and the floor is tiled. Can anyone help?

  4. Isabel says:

    These are some great tips – and they’re all really achievable. It’s really great these days to see how many options are actually available to those who have disabilities when it comes to bathrooms and independence. One of the things my husband was actually most alarmed about when his health started to initially deteriorate, was the bathroom and his own independence. He didn’t want to have to rely on others too much, and still wanted to be able to bathe himself and such. I was originally sceptical of how achievable this was and thought we’d have to go against his wishes and install a load of hoists and things to help him get in and out of the bath and shower. But nowadays with all that’s available – this is certainly not the case! There are so many wonderful options these days, from showers with seats, to slide in baths – it really is absolutely amazing! I believe the home my husband is currently in has an accessible bath from Gainsborough (I’m 98% sure that’s the company anyway) – and he loves it because he has his all important independence! Equipment like this really does make all the difference, and it’s fantastic to see so many wonderful options out there nowadays, and it’s so great to read articles like this that show people that.

  5. Bella says:

    This is so useful , so thank you to whoever made this – I have already bookmarked this page! I’m actually on here because I’m currently helping my sister with her new bathroom. Very sadly my nephew was recently in an accident which has caused him to have reduced movability, luckily he’s slowly on the road to recovery at home but my sister wants to install a few assistance devices so she can help look after him as best she can. Basically I was wondering if there was any specific bathroom alterations that needed to be made in order to accommodate this? I know for example that she is getting a special assisted bath with a seat with adjustable height, is there any special tiling or flooring that is needed for this? I know she’s getting the bath from a company called Abacus ( this is the kind of bath she’s getting: ). I don’t know if that helps with providing any more information at all? Will my sister need to plan anything differently to accommodate the bath or will it just be a case of simply installing it? I’d be ever so grateful if anyone could provide some insight here, it would be such a big help to us both! Thank you everyone!

  6. Kayla says:

    I agree that one of the most important rooms to think about when adding features for disabled access is the bathroom. My mom slipped and had a tail born operation. She’s now having a hard time moving around the house, especially in the bathroom. My dad suggested having a barrier-free shower and shared this article with us at home. It says that adopting a bathroom for disabled use is fairly straightforward; all it requires is a little bit of common sense and understanding.

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