After an injury or illness, your loved one may find it difficult to do the routine daily tasks upon returning home. Whether they are temporarily or permanently disabled, or just need some time to rehabilitate, you can make some changes to your bathroom that will make it easier. The key to making your bathroom handicap accessible is to think like the person in need. Imagine yourself in the same situation and look at what changes you can make that will help. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Add a mirror at wheelchair level
You can purchase an inexpensive frameless wall mirror, and hang it at a lower height to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.
Add a towel rod or bar for pulling up on
You may already have a towel bar that is positioned where it will act as a rail for standing. Check that is it secure, or add an additional bar just for this purpose.
Get a safety frame for over the toilet
Safety frames can be purchased in various configurations to meet your need.
Get a shower seat or bench
Like the toilet safety frame, a shower seat with arms will make it easier getting in and out of the shower, and the seat itself will provide a comfortable area for bathing. Make sure the apparatus is steady.
Move towels and other items to more accessible positions
While you are installing additional towel rods and hanging your frameless wall mirror, look around and see what items you can relocate to make them more accessible. Think about towels, washcloths, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any other toiletries that are used regularly.
Consider getting a light switch extension, or an automatic light
The recovery time may be long and anything you can do to make your loved one more comfortable ought to be considered. If the light switch is in an inconvenient place, look to install a light-switch extension or other device to make it easier.
Consider a shower extension arm or other device
After an injury or illness, most people want to regain the ability to take care of themselves. Making the bathroom a safe yet functional place will help them have their privacy and start feeling like normal.
Duplicate the hospital room
One thing about being in the hospital is that you have everything you need close by. Look around your bathroom and see what extra items you can stock. Things like flushable wipes, room fresheners, and basic pain and first aid items will come in handy. With just a few items, like a towel rod, a frameless wall mirror, and a safety frame, you can make your bathroom accessible and comfortable.
Patrick Whalen is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @2patwhalen.