Safe Shower Stalls

Homeowners are deciding to have their bathrooms remodeled to comfortably and safely accommodate a loved one who may be in a wheelchair or have mobility issues due to age, an injury or a physical handicap. When this is the case, it is necessary to have an accessible open shower unit available for their personal hygiene needs. By using the guidelines for installing safe shower stalls, within the home, that are set up by the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are helping to preserve some of your loved one’s sense of independence, while providing them a safe showering environment for tending to their personal hygiene needs.

Creating a Safe Showering Environment

Some of the provisions set up by the ADA for creating a safe shower stall include:

A shower seat that is located on the opposite side of the facet and water controls in a 36 inch x 36 inch shower stall. When installed in a 30 inch x 60 inch tub style shower unit a fixed seat can be located on the wall that is opposite of the controls or you can install a folding style seat on the same wall as the controls are located.

A grab bar should be installed on the back wall of the tub where it is within easy reach of the individual when sitting down.

A shower head that is attached to a hose that is 60 inches in length and can be used both in a stationary manner and as a handheld unit provide the best results for handicap shower stalls. A fixed shower head that is positioned 48 inches from the floor of the tub or shower unit is also acceptable as long as it does not require the person to have to reach over their head, creating a slip and fall risk.

Safe shower stalls that are 36 inches x 36 inches should have a curb that is no higher than ½ inch high from the bottom of the shower unit. For shower stalls that are 30 inches x 60 inches there should be no curb on the side.

Open Shower Stalls

Safe Shower Stalls For Seniors

There should be no shower enclosures such as doors that will interfere with the transfer from the shower chair to a wheelchair or vice versa. It should be an open shower stall. For the able bodied, enclosures are acceptable to prevent the splashing of water. However, open shower stall units are great for creating the illusion of a larger bathroom. Add a couple of shower mats to reduce the chances of slipping. These are the safest open shower stalls for seniors because they eliminate the curb and anyone with knee or hip problems will find them life changing.

Following these guidelines will provide you with a sense of security when you want to give your loved one a safe environment for their grooming needs. This will also help to alleviate some of the stress placed on the person who is trying to help care for the individual by providing a peace of mind in knowing that the loved one has access to all of the necessary safety equipment available.

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Wheelchair Friendly Showers

When you or a loved one must depend on the use of a wheelchair due to an injury, age, handicap or safety concerns it may feel as though you are losing a great deal of independence. One way to maintain some of your freedoms and sense of independence is to create an environment within the home that allows for you or your loved one to still be able to take care of their own personal needs in a safe manner. One major aspect of this is to install wheelchair accessible showers so that the individual can still bath and shower with little assistance with this much necessary task.

There are some guidelines that are set in place by the Americans with Disabilities Act to insure that the shower stall is constructed in a safe manner that will be both beneficial for the individual while providing the tools to assist them in areas that can be detrimental to their safety and security while bathing. Here are some specifications that should be set into place when designing a wheelchair accessible shower unit.

ADA Guidelines for Wheelchair Friendly Showers

A seat is required for the individual to have a place to sit while tending to their showering needs. With there being two basic size shower units consisting of a 36 inch x 36 inch unit or a 30 inch by 60 inch unit, the set up can be different. In a 36 inch x 36 inch unit, the seat should be stationary and positioned facing the controls on the opposite side of the shower. There are plenty of options available. In a 30 inch x 60 inch shower unit the seat can either be a stationary seat that is positioned on the opposite wall facing the controls or on the same side as the controls as long as the seat is a folding style.

Wheelchair Shower Accessories

Grab bars must be installed along the back wall of the shower unit to assist the individual with transferring from the wheelchair to the shower seat. You can also install grab bars on the outside of the shower unit to help with balance and stability.

All of the controls, faucets and shower head units should be mounted on the opposite wall than where the seat is positioned if possible.

A shower caddy for private homes can help put the shampoos and soaps in a reachable area.

The most ideal shower sprayer unit for wheelchair friendly showers is models in which the shower head is attached to a hose that is at least 60 inches long. This type of handicap shower head can be used either in a stationary manner or as a hand-held sprayer. If a stationary shower unit is installed, it should not be positioned more than four feet from the bottom of the tub on the wall opposite of the shower seat. This will help to prevent the individual from needing to reach over their head, creating a slip and fall risk.

The most ideal wheelchair friendly shower units should not have a curb. However, if you have a 36 inch x 36 inch shower pan, it is acceptable for the curb to be no more than ½ inch high.

There should never be any type of shower enclosure installed on a shower unit that can interfere with transferring back and forth to the shower unit. This most often includes shower doors that slide or open up in a limited amount of space.

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Shower Entry Ramps

The elderly and handicapped often find that using their own shower can be next to impossible. Even showers designed for the disabled will often have a barrier to prevent water from spilling into the bathroom floor. This barrier makes it difficult for someone with a wheelchair to get into or out of their shower.

Shower entry ramps can definitely improve the life of these persons. The shower becomes safe to use, providing independence and dignity.

These safety devices are available in a wide range of materials, sizes and colors. Some are made with durable, lightweight aluminum. The aluminum is rust-proof. Another material that is used is hard plastic which is able to support heavy weights without cracking. Most recently rubber has been used. The rubber ramps are constructed from 100% post-consumer passenger and truck recycled tires. Recycled rubber, when molded, is extremely durable and dense and there are no weight load limits. They come in a wide range of heights from ¾ inches to 2 ¼ inches.

Handicap shower ramps need to be sturdy and have a non-slip surface. It must also meet ADA requirements, which are 12 inches in length for every inch of rise.

Wherever there is not a level floor shower entry, a slope is needed for wheelchair accessibility. Handicap ramps are an essential component where access by disabled or wheelchair-bound people is necessary. There are various types of ramps including permanent, semi-permanent and portable handicap ramps.

Costs of Shower Entry Ramps

The appearance can be utilitarian or very attractive; some even have a faux marble finish. They may include drain holes for water flow, or be solid. There is a wide variety of materials and looks – something for every household and need. The price varies widely, ranging from $52 to $200.

Buy Shower Entry Ramps

Barrier-free showers eliminate a tripping hazard for the aged individual. Now the aged and disabled are able to stay in their own homes longer and live more independently with more self-esteem. Perhaps they can actually delay the need for asking loved ones to help them bathe or postpone the necessity to pay an aide to assist them with personal hygiene.

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