Five Improvements That Can Make a Bathroom Safer for Aged or Disabled Users
Each year, more than a quarter of a million people injure themselves in bathrooms and end up in emergency rooms as a result. A lot of those injured are elderly or possess physical needs that make the safe use of a bathroom more challenging.
Many of these injuries can be prevented, and a key to making injuries less likely is the use of safer fixtures, appliances, and accessories. Below are a few items that can make bathrooms safer for aged or disabled occupants.
Walk-in Bathtubs and Showers
A walk-in bathtub permits user to open a gate on the side of the tub and then walk into the tub without being forced to take a step over its edge. The gate is then closed, and the user can fill the tub up with water; following the bath, the water is drained, and the user exits through the gate.
If you decide to install a walk-in tub, you will need to be sure the space available will match the desired tub. In addition, walk-in tubs are equipped to drain quickly so occupants don’t need to sit in water for lengthy periods, but you may have to make plumbing modifications for the tub to work as designed. In any event, it is important to obtain the services of a bath remodeler if you want to add a walk-in tub.
Another helpful safety feature to have in place are grab handles. These serve an important role by permitting users with stability problems to have a steady handhold when moving about the bathroom. In addition, grab handles are vital for toilet users who may have difficulty sitting or rising from a seated position.
Though installing grab handles may seem straightforward, it is important to evaluate user patterns and habits in the bathroom. By observing and discussing needs with users, you can install grab handles in the most useful locations.
In addition, consider whether users would prefer temporary or permanently installed handles. Some handles are mounted using suction cups and are handy for transient users who may not remain at one location for a long period of time.
Benches and Seating
Bathrooms are often scarce of seating, with the toilet frequently being the only place to sit. Standing can be dangerous to individuals with stability concerns, and that means additional bathroom seating should be supplied.
Unfortunately, standard tubs usually aren’t equipped with seating, so you may want to add a seat for bathers. Drop-in bench seats are a decent alternative and can be added at low cost. However, more permanently installed seats that are attached to the tub or surrounding walls are a better option. These benches are sturdy and will provide a much more comfortable experience.
As mentioned, getting up and down from a toilet can be challenging for some people. However, raising the toilet may make using the toilet easier and safer for these users. Special elevated toilets can be bought and installed, or a pedestal can be inserted between the floor and the base of a conventional toilet.
In either circumstance, a professional should perform the work, as an improperly elevated toilet can be dangerous to users should it become unstable and topple.
Permanent Anti-Slip Tub Coatings
Another safety improvement that can protect any tub user is the installation of a permanent anti-slip tub coating. “Peel and stick” anti-slip pads may work for a period of time, but they are prone to peel up from the tub and could pose a safety hazard of their own. However, permanent anti-slip coatings are applied to the surface of the tub, where they cure; this prevents them from peeling up.
Be sure to obtain the help of a professional should you desire to add an anti-slip coating, though, as the presence of dirt or improper application could cause the coating to fail.
To start remodeling your bathroom or that of a loved one, call Four Seasons Home Products to get a free estimate.