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.

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.

Waterproof Shower Mats

Having a shower mat in a shower or tub can not only make your bathroom safer, but can also make it more attractive and keep the shower in better shape. Waterproof mats for showers help prevent extra moisture from seeping into the shower surface and causing mold and mildew build-up.

A shower with a mat requires less upkeep. The mat protects the floor and can easily be removed for cleaning, which is much easier than scrubbing out a shower. Waterproof mats come in different styles and designs. Besides keeping the shower safe, they can add a stylish touch to the bathroom.

Any shower mats that have a grip on the bottom to keep the mat in place keep a shower safe. This is especially important for a family with children, disabled, or elderly members. Showers are slippery and a mat will help prevent dangerous falls.

Buy Waterproof Shower Mats

  • Round Waterproof Shower Mats – This is a circular waterproof mat made of allergen free vinyl. At 23 inches in diameter, it can provide a wide slip free surface over your shower drains.
  • Shower Safety Grip Treads – If you want to have more choice in where there is traction, consider grippers for shower floors. These are shower treads that have grip and can be applied anywhere you may need extra footing. Use the sticky adhesive to apply these long strips of grip, anywhere you stand or walk on, in the bathroom.

Shower mats should have a textured surface on top and non-slip grips on the bottom. These mats will get wet, but their outer surface is designed to get wet and remain non-slippery. The grips on the bottom keep the mat in place, even on a wet floor of a shower stall. A waterproof shower mat gives an extra advantage not allowing water to seep in and destroy it. The mat protects the floor, but the mat itself needs to have waterproof protection or it can become full of mildew. This poses other health problems and becomes as dangerous as a slippery floor.

The American with Disabilities Act requires that showers have a stable, non-slip floor. This can easily be done by buying bathroom water proof floor mats. Adding a waterproof shower mat to an ADA compliant shower adds an extra safety precaution. Just make sure the shower mats do not hamper the movements of a wheelchair.

There are many reasons to add a waterproof mat to your shower. Keep your family safe and install one today.

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