A home bathroom generally needs to be updated every two decades, and in a home where an individual might have recently become disabled, or in homes with new occupants that have mobility issues, a remodel for accessibility might be in order far sooner. Such a renovation does much to improve the at-home quality of life for an individual that uses a walker or wheelchair. There are many bathroom remodel designs that incorporate the necessary adjustments to make them accessible for those with a disability, and such designs do not need to sacrifice aesthetic appeal. Below are four areas where various options can be utilized in bathroom remodel designs to make the room more accessible.
- Maneuvering Space: The amount of space allocated to turning around does not merit much consideration for the population at large, but is crucial with a walker or wheelchair. A doorway should be at least 36 inches wide and, inside the bathroom itself, there should be 60 inches of unimpeded space to allow a person with a mobility aid to turn around completely.
- The Sink: Three issues come into play with the sink when designing a handicapped bathroom at home. First, the height of a sink can be raised for an individual making use of a walker. Ideally, the sink should be at 34 inches, just three inches above the standard. Second, also for walkers, its best to have lever handles or touchless faucets for the most safety. Third, wheelchairs, to be used effectively, require the area under the sink to be clear, meaning no under sink cabinet space or pedestal design.
- The Toilet: One of the key issues with the toilet is height, with standard being 15 inches and the optimum height for an individual with a mobility aid being 17 to 19 inches, with 17 inches the minimum to meet code for handicap bathrooms. Another factor to consider are the installation of grab bars for those with wheelchairs to aid in the transfer between chair and toilet.
- The Tub or Shower: Grab bars are an essential mobility and safety aid in a bathroom shower or tub, and are important to incorporate in this type of bathroom remodeling project. They allow for transfer from a wheelchair or to assist in getting up and down and serve as an aid for stabilization when standing. A walk-in tub can also be installed. These tubs have a door for easy access, but vacuum seal to prevent leaks.
There are many other ideas for bathroom remodeling that satisfy the aesthetic desires of occupants in addition to those listed above. With advanced planning, and the advise of a professional, it is possible to satisfy needs for safety and the need for beauty when making disability accessible bathroom remodel designs.