Imagine walking into your hotel room after a long flight, a bumpy taxi ride to your hotel and a busy day ahead of you. You are looking forward to taking a long, hot bath and going to bed. But when you finally arrive to your room, you’re not surprised to see that the bathroom is either inaccessible for your wheelchair or the “accessible” room you requested simply provides a roll in shower with a cold shower stool to sit on.
Many of us with disabilities are far too familiar with the limited options for accessibility in not only hotel bathrooms but bathrooms in our own homes. Luckily in the past few years, there have been many more options you can choose to creating an accessible oasis in the luxury of your own home.
Here are a few of my favorite accessible bathroom options:
Walk-in bathtubs and barrier-free showers:
Trying to climb in and out of a tall bathtub or stepping over the lip to get in and out of the shower may be difficult and potentially cause injury while transferring during bathing especially when water makes for a slippery surface.
Now there are many options for barrier free showers that allow you to roll your chair in and transfer onto a shower bench directly from your wheelchair. This design makes it easy to push your chair out, close the curtain and pull it back in to transfer back into your chair after showering.
Walk-in bathtubs are a great option if you like spending time soaking in the tub but wish to avoid climbing in and out. They also make it easy to not have to sit completely down and worry about not being able to get back up. Many have a built-in seat making it easy to simple step in, sit down and close the water-tight door behind you. Then fill it up and relax the day away! Check out all these options from the Home Depot.
Consider installing a simple sink that is not connected to a lower vanity. If you use a wheelchair this will allow you to easily roll your chair right up to the sink. No more reaching over to turn the water on or off and no more bumping your chair into the lower cabinets. This does eliminate some storage space, so consider installing open cabinets alongside the sink. The open design will make it easy to grab what you need without having to open and close cupboard doors and brings the shelves down lower so you can reach what you need from a seated position.
If you spend most of your time sitting in a wheelchair, you know the frustration of using a bathroom with mirrors that are mounted too high to be able to see yourself in. Why not consider installing an adjustable mirror in your own home bathroom? Many of these mirrors mount on an adjustable “knob” on either side which allows you to pivot the mirror at any angle. This way the mirror can be mounted at a standard height, but you can angle it down if you need to be able to see yourself while sitting in your wheelchair. Get ideas for various designs from Houzz.com.
Do you have any other creative ideas to keep your bathroom both accessible and classy? Share in the comments!