Slips and falls in the bathroom can cause nasty injuries for elderly and disabled people. Reduced mobility can mean that a once easy to use bathroom has become a hazard. When things reach this stage it is time to make the bathroom both easier to access and easier to use in order to prevent any trips causing a potential serious injury.
Walk-in showers are often an ideal solution for people with reduced mobility. They are good choices, fit for the future, as the step threshold is just a few inches high or eliminated altogether in the case of a level access shower. This often makes a shower a better choice over a walk-in bath or low level bath tub as there is no step to impede access.
Generally speaking, the following are good points to consider.
The step height is one of the most important points to consider as it obviously determines just how accessible the new shower will be for the end user. An easy access shower can achieve a step height of around 3 inches or so. If the end user is likely to find this awkward, now or in future, then level access will be a better choice. Of course, a full wet room is also an option for a total step free bathroom environment.
Screens and doors
If carer assistance is required, a shower can be created with half height shower doors/screens to allow the carer to remain outside the shower area and lean in to provide assistance. If the end user can shower independently then a full height screen may be more appropriate.
A seat provides the opportunity to sit down and take the weight off one’s feet whilst enjoying a shower. Seats can be either free standing or wall mounted with the option of arm rests and padding
Placing shower items
It’s best to place the shower unit, grab rails, support rails and configure the shower doors so they are easy to reach and convenient to use.
Site specific considerations
Each site presents different peculiarities and will require consideration of drainage (pumped or gravity), under floor joists and pipe work or concrete floor depth (for level access shower trays) and suitability of electric or mains water shower units.
This brief overview should give you an idea of what to take into account when deciding what should be in a new shower for a disabled or elderly person. It’s a good idea to bring on board the services of a bathroom mobility specialist, such as Bathtime Mobility. They are experts in designing and installing shower rooms around the needs of people with reduced mobility, so you’ll be in good hands. Please feel to call us on 03300 882 237 to discuss your requirements or to arrange a free home assessment.