A Bathroom for All

If you're in the process of redoing a bathroom, consider these adaptability guidelines that will let your room age gracefully and work for you.
Layout
Contemporary Marble and Wood Bath 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.

Continued on page 2:  Water Safety and Access