Having a safe, comfortable and accessible home is key to quality of life. Bathrooms can offer particular challenges when it comes to safety and accessibility, with slippery floors and unwieldy tub and shower curbs. Falls in the home is a leading cause of emergency room visits, many occurring in the bathroom. This is why it’s so important to upgrade your bathroom to meet the current and future needs of everyone in the home. Wheelchair showers are often a necessity. With fantastic contractors right here in Ottawa, renovations can be a cinch. But what do you need to consider before installing a wheelchair shower?
When does a user require assistance in the bathroom?
Identifying when and where a user typically requires assistance during different bathroom activities is a great starting point. This will help you choose which amenities need to be upgraded and how they should be modified. Consider what can be improved so that the user can be more independent, comfortable and safe in their daily activities.
Where do grab bars need to be placed when independence is possible?
It can be helpful to mentally go through the shower process and select appropriate places for grab bars to be placed to optimize ease of mobility and independence wherever possible. Having this mapped out ahead of time will make the process easier when consulting a contractor, and ensure you get the best results.
Shower and tub accessibility
For some, a rolling or fixed shower seat will be enough to increase accessibility. A curbless shower is ideal for accommodating wheelchairs or walkers and preventing falls, regardless of ability. Consider the opening width. It should be at least 36” wide for a transfer seat and 60” wide for a wheelchair to enter and maneuver through. Ensuring the floor is optimized for preventing slips and falls is essential to the safety of the shower and tub. Implementing textured tiles and a DITRA uncoupling membrane can prevent cracked tiles, grout and slippery surfaces. Shower controls should be well-placed so that a seated user can easily access them without getting wet. Also consider the placement and storage of toiletry products for ease of use.
Before starting a bathroom project, consider not only the current needs of the users, but the possible future needs as well. This will save you from having to re-renovate this area of the home as requirements change. Considering these details will ensure you achieve a bathroom that is comfortable and safe for all occupants. Consult a knowledgeable Ottawa renovations team to get the care and attention to detail right for your project.