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If you or a member of your household is elderly or handicapped, even maneuvering in the bathroom can be difficult, if not impossible. By making a few adjustments, you can make life much more comfortable. If a person with a physical limitation is not able to use all facilities without assistance, the bathroom is not disability compliant.
The bathroom is quite possibly one of the most awkward spaces to make work within disability compliance rules. A person with a wheelchair must be able to have access to all facilities. He or she must be able to maneuver freely at all times, this means that the door should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, the doors should have a minimum width of 36 inches.
The vanity should be lower than normal to allow a person at wheelchair height to use the sink. The countertop should be no higher than 34 inches above the floor. There should also be an open space beneath the countertop so that the individual can roll closer to the faucet. This space should be at least 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. Because the wheelchair will be situated beneath the counter, all piping needs to be covered. Also, mirrors should be hung lower and shelves placed at an accessible level.
The sink needs to have a disability compliant approved lever to allow the handicapped or the elderly to grip it. Round levers are not appropriate as they are difficult to grip and even more so with wet hands. Furthermore, the basin should not be deeper than six and a half inches.
The toilet needs to be higher than average toilets. Three and a half inches higher is the recommendation. The seat should be in the elongated style rather than round and the individual should have support, such as a hand rail, available to help him or her move from the chair to the toilet and back again without assistance.
The shower's dimensions should be 36 inches by 36 inches. Most of these showers have no barrier, however, if a barrier is present, it should be no higher than half an inch. The person should be able to enter the shower without assistance. There should be various grab bars immediately available. Many disability compliant showers have a chair installed near the water valves. Make sure the showerhead is within reach, a removable showerhead may be your best option.
If you want to install a bath that is designed for people with a disability you may be best fitting a walk in bath, this is because they make access in and out of the bath easy with no need for lifting in and out.
Creating a disability compliant bathroom may not be an easy task. However, it can make a world of difference for your handicapped or elderly loved one. Just by facilitating every day activities, you can make life that much more enjoyable.