Your bathroom is one of the most important and frequently used rooms in the house. That means, it should be accessible and functional for everyone, no matter their age, mobility, or other concerns. Let’s take a look at a few ways to improve bathroom accessibility and make it a great space for everyone.
Why Invest In Bathroom Accessibility Updates
If you or a loved one has disability or mobility issues, you know firsthand how important an accessible bathroom is. Even if you don’t, a safe and accessible bathroom benefits everyone and can serve you well down the road. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons an accessible bathroom is a good investment.
- Investing in an accessible bathroom now can help you maintain your independence as you age and save money on hiring in-home caregivers.
- Because of that increased independence, an accessible bathroom may allow you to stay in your home longer without having to transition to a care facility or living with a loved one.
- Accessible features can keep you safer and help prevent costly injuries.
- An accessible bathroom can be a selling point if you opt to sell your home down the road because they’re harder to find. Many houses, especially older ones, are not accessible.
- If you or a loved one has existing mobility issues or health concerns, an accessible bathroom is a must, whether they’re living in the home or visiting.
Accessible Bathroom Features to Consider
If you’re currently building a home or remodeling your bathroom area, keep accessibility top of mind. Here are a few great accessible features to consider.
Wide door openings
Mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters can require some extra space. If you’re in the process of building a home or remodeling, consider making your door frames wider to accommodate such devices, whether you’re using them now or you may need one in the future. This will make accessing the bathroom easier and prevent slips and falls for those who may otherwise have to navigate without support.
ADA guidelines for a public restroom include:
- 30-inch by 48-inch access to the sink (the door can’t swing into this rectangle)
- The centerline of the toilet must be between 16 and 18 inches from the side wall.
- A clear circle of at least 60 inches around the sidewall and 56 inches from the rear wall to allow a wheelchair to turn.
Following similar guidelines when designing or remodeling your home bathroom can make sure it meets your needs at every stage of life and mobility level.
Walk-in tubs, also called accessible baths or safety baths, are a great option. As the name implies, they’re easy to step into, verses having to lift your leg over the side of the tub. Plus, since you’re sitting in a more upright position, there’s also less up and down movement than a traditional bathtub. Overall, this reduces the chance of slipping and minimizes pain for those with limited mobility or range of motion. These walk-in baths often include hydrotherapy options which can be great for sore muscles and injury recovery as well.
Roll-in showers are similar to walk in showers, except they have no lip or barrier to entry like some walk-in showers do. This allows you total access if you’re using wheelchairs or other mobility devices with minimal assistance or transferring needed.
Traditional sinks and vanities are often too high for wheelchair users. The same goes for toilets, which are often too high for easy transferring and can cause a lot of pain if you have joint issues or other health concerns. As you design your new bathroom, keep the height of your fixtures in mind. Consider lowering them or finding a middle ground that can provide access and comfort for anyone who uses the space
Automatic & Smart Home Features
Technology is a great way to add accessibility and increased safety to your bathroom.
Most of us have experienced the struggle of fumbling around the bathroom in the dark at night. Voice or motion-activated lights can help in situations like that, and can also benefit those with vision impairments to better navigate the bathroom.
There are also smart faucets and showerheads that allow you to adjust water temperature from your connected device and motion activated, no-touch faucets. These features can be great for those who experience chronic pain, arthritis, or just struggle to grip things in general.
Hardware and Accessories
There’s also a variety of hardware and bathroom accessories that can make the space more user-friendly and safer for all — not to mention add an air of luxury to your bathroom. Consider features like additional grab bars (particularly near showers, tubs, and toilets) for increased stability, removable or handheld showerheads for easy bathing, shower chairs and benches, and more.
Ready to get started?
Whenever you’re ready to build your next home or tackle a bathroom remodeling project in the Fox Cities area, Watters is here. Our team is ready to offer insights on the latest in bathroom accessibility and design and support you every step of the way.