A Guide To Making A Small Bathroom Safer And Easier To Use For Someone With A New Mobility Challenge

If someone you care for has recently suffered an illness or injury that has resulted in new mobility challenges, an important detail to consider is how accessible their existing bathroom will be for their new situation. That is especially concerning if the bathroom in question is small, as its reduced size can make modifications quite challenging. Therefore, it's important to minimize any unnecessary clutter from the room, including items like bulky shower doors that no longer meet their needs and unsafe storage or trash receptacles. When you need to make the bathroom easier and safer to use, the following information will be quite useful.   

Consider the Nature Of The Disability And Its Expected Duration

One aspect to consider is the severity of the disability and whether or not it is a permanent diagnosis. For instance, if you know that there is no reasonable expectation of the person ever being able to use a shower without modifications, it makes sense to spend a bit more on the changes if you can. If physical or occupational therapy is expected to restore much of the user's strength and skills, short-term changes might be more appropriate.     

For instance, safety bars in the bathroom for increased security and easier use are obviously a good idea, but both temporary and permanent units exist at different price points. In addition, slip-resistant flooring is also recommended, but if the situation is expected to rectify in the near future, slip-resistant treatments might be a viable short-term option.

Removing Bulk Or Clutter Wherever You Can

It is important to note that whether the user will be using a walker, cane, wheelchair or is somewhat ambulatory, the clutter in a bathroom can be very problematic. Therefore, it is usually best to remove anything that could make it difficult to safely move around. Before making any structural changes to the room, it's a good idea to verify that there will be adequate space to not risk damage to the mobility device your loved one will be using.    

In addition, the clutter in question can include everything from the trash can on the floor that could be placed in a nearby cabinet and extends to removing any free-standing shelves within the room that might no longer be safe. It could also lead you to reconsider the existing door to the shower, as discussed next. 

Choosing A New Shower Door

Unfortunately, the shower door is one thing that cannot always be temporarily modified without spending a fair amount of cash to return it to its original appearance. Even if it currently features a shower curtain without a door, it's often best to improve the unit by providing the extra security associated with a damage-resistant, glass door. That is especially important when you consider that when your friend or family member is probably trying to maintain as much of their dignity as possible.

A glass door provides him or her with increased privacy, even if someone needs to be on the other side of shower door in case of an emergency the first times that person is trying to shower alone. You will need to measure the space outside the shower to make sure that there is adequate space for the new door to swing outward without hitting cabinets, walls, etc.

The door should also close and lock in a way that is convenient for the user to access. For instance, if a right-handed person recently had a stroke that left him or her with right-sided weakness, a standard shower lock and heavy shower door might be difficult to maneuver. In that instance, a half-height shower door is a good choice, since it provides privacy and the lock may not even be necessary. Its diminished size can also make the room seem bigger.  

In conclusion, many health concerns can result in mobility challenges that require major lifestyle changes. Since one of those challenges can be in the bathroom and small bathrooms are quite common, it's best to consider the above information when you need to make an existing bathroom as safe and usable as you can for someone with a new disability. For more information, contact companies like Mitchell's Glass & Mirror.