How to make your bathroom accessible for elderly or disabled family members

Bathroom safety isn’t an issue for the majority of homeowners. But for households with elderly or physically challenged family members, an inaccessible bathroom can be dangerous. More than half a million Americans are hospitalized every year as a result of slips and falls and many of these accidents take place in the bathroom.

Consider these simple yet effective bathroom accessibility ideas today to make your bathroom more safe for your loved ones.

Lay non-slip rugs and mats

Replacing shower and sink mats with non-slip rugs can make it easier to stand in the bathroom. Remember, for someone with limited motor skills even the slightest shift underfoot can lead to an accident.

Don’t skimp on quality as low-cost mats tend to lose their grip quickly. Be sure to test mats every few months to verify effectiveness.

Install grab bars

Wall-mounted grips, handles or rails alongside the toilet and sink and inside the shower provide much needed support when sitting down, standing up or leaning over to wash.

Mount grab bars directly into a stud or use professional grade drywall anchors to ensure proper stability.

Upgrade to a chair height toilet

Replacing your standard commode with a “chair height” toilet is an easy way to improve the safety of your bathroom while simultaneously giving dignity back to elderly family members.

Many older people require physical assistance to both sit down on and stand up from a standard height toilet and asking for help can be embarrassing. Increasing seat height just a few inches goes a long way towards allowing mobility challenged family members the freedom and privacy to use the toilet without assistance.

Look into Kohler’s Comfort Height line of toilets for the ideal blend of style and practicality.

Swap out faucets and fixtures

Twist-style faucets can be difficult to turn for those suffering from arthritis and the inability to make quick adjustments can lead to burns in the shower. Replacing fixtures with lever-shaped handles is a simple solution and a great excuse for budgeting in stylish new faucets.

The Addison TempAssure by Delta Faucets is a great example of an easy-to-use lever-style fixture.

Consider a safety valve

A thermostatic valve prevents shower water from reaching an unsafe temperature to minimize the risk of burns while bathing.

Households with young children just learning to bathe on their own will also benefit from such a device.

Adhesive safety tape

Adhere non-slip adhesive tape on the floor of your shower or tub to improve grip and lower the risk of slipping.

Non-slip stickers are also available in a wide variety of colors and styles.

Move up to a walk-in

Stepping in and out of a traditional fiberglass bath/shower combination tub can be extremely dangerous for an elderly or disabled person, particularly when wet. Installing a walk-in shower or tub is the best long-term safety solution. Today’s walk-in tub comes complete with stability bars and built-in seating.

For more ideas on how to make your bathroom more accessible, simply ask one of the helpful salespeople at the Consolidated Plumbing showroom.

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