Designing A Bathroom For The Disabled

For many disabled people, especially those confined to wheelchairs, the every day actions able-bodied people take can be a real hardship. Especially difficult is using the bathroom, whether it is using the toilet, showering or having a bath.
Clever, innovative bathroom design can, however, make a disabled person's life much, much easier. There are many clever bath and shower solutions on the market for the disabled, some of which we will discuss here, but it is the actual layout and design of the bathroom that will ultimately make the most of those solutions.
First, let's look at the solutions for the toilet. In many cases, a solid bar fixed to the wall or floor next to the toilet is sufficient for most disabled people. It is only placement that needs to be considered. However, other options include comfortable height toilets and portable toilets.
For bathing, there walk in baths, low sided baths and bath chairs, while for showering there are in-shower chairs, low door level showers for easy wheelchair access and large size controls for the visually impaired. Low level or high level sinks and shelving unites are other options.
Once you have identified the needs of a particular person, it's relatively easy to choose the fittings you need. The trickier bit is fitting them into the space you have available at home in the bathroom.
This is where a good bathroom designer is required, ideally using bathroom design software. Why? Because this will save you both time and money. Bathroom planner software can be used to recreate the dimensions of your bathroom in 3D, then place, again in 3D, the fittings you have chosen.
Working with you or the disabled person in your care, the designer will utilise this 3D CAD software to draw out the room, position the fittings and ensure there is sufficient space for moving around and actually using those fittings.
In addition, the software can help even with the decor. The designer will be able to change the colour of the walls, choose a suitable floor covering, window blinds or curtains, even place mirrors and / or pictures on the walls.
You will be able to visualise exactly how the finished bathroom will look and, more importantly, function. Once you're happy with the final design it can be passed to the bathroom fitters to work to before they have even started, ensuring there are no costly mistakes made or expensive adjustments required once the bathroom is complete.
The result of this is a much more pleasant experience for the disabled person, perhaps even a freer, more independent life, a beautiful, useful bathroom and a reduction in overall potential costs!
Disabled people should enjoy the same comforts that able-bodied people enjoy, and with a bit of careful planning, the aid of technology and the continued innovation in making everyday products and tools usable by the disabled, they can do just that.
When you are next looking at making your bathroom (or kitchen, bedroom - any room in the house) more suitable for disabled use, make sure you take advantage of every available tool to do so.
Ian Grainger is writing on behalf of Nexus Design Software, developers of bathroom planner software and bathroom design software.

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