Some people worry that accessible showers are “ugly”, but that does not have to be the case. Below is an article that John Whipple wrote on Houzz about features to consider when designing an accessible shower. As you can see, the accessible showers are stunning.
So why wait until you need an accessible shower, when emotions and stress levels are high? Have one installed now when you can enjoy your beautiful shower for years to come!
That said, an accessible shower does not need to lack in style, as these examples show. Being proactive in your next shower renovation means you can include some or all of these features, even before you need them. It's better to be ready for accessibility than have to scramble to renovate when the need arrives.
Here are some things to consider when planning a shower for seniors.
If you live in a warmer climate, you may not need a shower door or shower curtain at all. Designing the space as a true wet room — with the entire bathroom floor as a shower pan — makes entry into the shower effortless and provides plenty of room for a caregiver.
Tip: When planning a wet room, consider a wall-hung toilet. This toilet makes building the wet room much easier, since it does not send waste through the floor's waterproofing system. You can also place a wall-hung toilet in a higher position, which makes getting on and off it much easier.
Tip: Place the shower control valves near the entry so you don't need to get wet when starting the shower and letting it warm up.
Tip: Unless you're building in a shower bench from the very beginning, consider a one-way slope on your shower floor (like in this photo), so the shower's bench or stool does not rock when it's sat on. Often showers with a standard single-point drain have multiple slopes, and a four-legged stool will rock on these types of floors.
Tip: Ensure that your bathroom is safely lit at night. Also consider installing nightlights to clearly illuminate the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom.
If your shower or bath is dark and you need a little extra light, one or two of these LED grab bars from Elio might be just what you need. They can switch on and off and glow with a nice white light.
Tip: It is not uncommon for someone to slip while getting on or off the toilet, or in or out of the tub. If a pull-chain safety monitor switch cannot be installed nearby, consider a wireless device that can be worn as a necklace.
Tip: When someone falls, sometimes they can't get up, so make the button or pull chain accessible from a prone position.
Tip: Consider custom grab bars for a shower's glass entry door. These grab bars have a hammered finish, making them easier to grip with soapy hands. I like installing a grab bar right at the entry of the shower and near the shower niche, so bathers can steady themselves when entering and exiting the shower, and when reaching for the shampoo bottle.