Bathrooms are an essential component of any home. A universally designed bathroom should be safe and easy to use for all members of the household, regardless of age or ability.
When analyzing your bathroom to determine its accessibility, it is important that you consider the overall layout of each bathroom in the home. Are there bathrooms on each floor? Do you or someone else in the household have a disability that affects the way they use the bathroom such as assistance using the bath or shower? Bathrooms in most homes have been typically designed with close configuration in mind. However homeowners and buyers today are searching for larger bathrooms, especially in new-builds.
This increasing trend in larger bathrooms allows for greater maneuverability as well as easier adaptability in newer builds should you need to update your current home. It is important to note that individuals with severely limited mobility or balance should have easy access to supports, such as grab bars and controls.
When considering an individual who relies on a walker or wheelchair, it is important to allow for sufficient maneuvering space of 30 inches by 47 inches in front of or beside all features. It is especially important to consider the space in front of all controls. Ensure that there is enough space and that the controls are within a close enough reach without a need to lean.
Slips and falls are major hazards, especially in bathrooms. While they can frequently occur, they can also be easily prevented with proper planning. A vertical grab bar should be mounted close to the bathtub or shower for people to use as they enter and exit. Both showers and bathtubs should be equipped with a non-slip surface on the floor of the shower or bath tub and the room itself should have adequate lighting and ventilation as well as a floor made of a non-slip material.
A high level of practicality and efficiency is important consideration in a Home for Life™ bathroom. Planning for practicality and efficiency includes considering the locations and relationships of the elements in the space. Consider placing related items nearby. For example, placing towels, shampoo and other bathing and shower supplies near the bath or shower eliminates the need to walk around the space while wet and can greatly reduce the risk of a fall.
Bathrooms can be a significant obstacle for many people with disabilities. As a basic human need, it is important to ensure that at least one bathroom in your home is universally friendly should you or a loved one ever require it.
For more information on how you or a loved one can build a Home for Life™ please contact us.