This bath has room to maneuver.
- Make doorways accessible. An opening of at least 32 inches will accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. The door should swing out rather than in, with clearance on both sides. This allows easy access in case someone falls in the bathroom. Alternatively, pocket doors are easy to open and close, and they don't take up much room.
- Keep the door threshold level with the flooring surface.
- Provide a 5-foot-diameter circle in which wheelchairs can turn. In the bathroom, this may mean installing a barrier-free shower. Some units are conveniently designed with a drain at one end, so connecting the plumbing is fairly simple when replacing a shower stall.
- Add knee space under the sink. Remove one or two vanity cabinets below the sink, or install a sink at wheelchair-accessible height.
- Incorporate accessible storage. Baskets and trays that slide out from a central location work well. Avoid hard-to-open latches or doors with difficult knobs, and make sure shelves are placed at an accessible height.
A seat in the shower adds
a measure of safety.
- Offset the bathtub controls toward the entry side so they're easier to reach.
- Add accessible faucets. Consider single-handle or lever faucets that can be operated with closed fists.
- Add a wall-mount, handheld showerhead. Or better yet, install a shower glide, a rod mounted to the wall that allows the showerhead to change height for each user.
- Build a seat at the head of the tub or a bench in a shower stall, or purchase a removable tub seat.
- Equip the shower faucet with a pressure-balancing valve to prevent surges of hot or cold water.
- Install preprogrammed faucets that limit water temperature. Alternatively, set your water heater so the household water is no hotter than 120 degrees.