Wheelchair Accessible Bathtub and Showers
Adding a wheelchair accessible bathtub to your bathroom increases safety and home value. Even if you don't currently need a handicapped accessible bath, you may in the future.
When renovating your bathroom, you can save time and money by upgrading to an ADA compliant tub. Many of the bathtubs are slightly more expensive, but they will increase your home's value because your bathing area is now elderly-friendly.
The Bathroom is a Dangerous Place
A fall in the bathroom can be deadly for a senior citizen. Statistics show that one out of three seniors fall at least once per year. Of those falls, 20 percent lead to fatality. Add in the fact that 7 out of 10 household accidents happen in the bathroom and it's clear how important a safe bathroom is.
In a study released by the American Journal of Public Health, more than 85 percent of bathroom falls were due to a lack of grab bars or loose grab bars. The other issues involved a lack of safety features in the bathroom, bathtub and shower areas.
Making Room for a Wheelchair Accessible Bathtub
The ADA specifies that bathtubs should have at least 30 inches of open floor space at the side of the tub. This provides enough room for a wheelchair user to park in front of the tub and move safely to an ADA compliant bath chair.
In a small bathroom, that space can be difficult to find. You may have to opt for different placement of your toilet or sink if they are all crammed together on one wall. Often, you can make the extra room by removing hampers, garbage pails and other floor clutter.
ADA Compliant Wheelchair Accessible Bathtubs
Some of the best wheelchair accessible bathtubs are walk-in tubs. They have built-in safety features like grab bars and ADA compliant bath seats. A wheel chair user may need help moving from the chair to the seat, but once settled, the walk-in tubs feature soothing massage jets, hand-held shower heads and some even have thermostats that maintain the water temperature for the entire time you are in the tub.
ADA compliant wheelchair accessible baths are usually wider than a standard bath to fit the bath seat. They should also have non-slip seating and flooring. The goal of the wheelchair accessible bathtub is to make it easy to get the person with limited mobility in and out of the tub safely.