Having an accessible home allows independence for disabled and old people. To ensure this is the case, the different rooms - and a property in general - need to be built with inclusive design in mind.
Within the UK, we have a serious problem in creating inclusive housing and reports show that just 7% of the entire housing stock in England is ‘visitable’ by a disabled person. Here are some ideas to get both form and function absolutely right when designing an accessible bathroom.
Ask the key questions
Some requirements are universal but everyone is different. These five questions will help get you started on what to look for:
- What bathroom activities does a user need assistance with?
- Does there need to be medical supplies in the room (and where should they be)?
- Do you want a bath or shower?
- Are grab bars needed, and where should they be placed for independent use?
- Will the condition of users deteriorate over time?
However you prefer to bathe, having walk-in baths and showers with a seat are the simplest way to have easy-to-use, safe equipment. Make sure that they come with easy to grip handles, anti-slip floors and seats, wide doorways, and adjustable slide bars.
By doing this, you will allow anyone with a stability issue to have the best experience and eliminate bathroom injuries.
To make the toilet most comfortable, ADA guidelines recommends that toilets are 17” to 19” high. Thicker toilet seats can be used when you’re not using a new toilet. You could also consider installing a bidet for privacy and hygiene, as well as getting a grab bar to aid movement.
By having all the bathroom storage hung on the wall, you can create a more tranquil environment and remove any potential obstructions. This allows easy movement around the space for everyone.
If you do want furniture in the room then small dressing tables and armchairs allow interest and storage at a low-level. This is suitable for everyone and saves space throughout the bathroom.
Trips, slips and falls in the bathroom can cause bad bruising and even broken bones. To combat this problem, you need to use flooring that is anti-slip both within the bathtub or shower and on the floor of the bathroom.
This is a crucial feature that reduces the fear factor of using the bathroom independently.
Should you consider a wet room?
While most homes continue to have a traditional bathroom, the rise of wet rooms is worth considering from an accessibility point of view. Perfect for maximising the sense of space, it is a minimalist solution that has no moving doors or parts, making it accessible for all ages.