Whether you're aging in place or living with a disability, these small safety modifications can make a big difference in your bathroom (and your wallet).
The bathroom can be the trickiest room to manage for those of us with mobility needs or balance issues, but luckily, it can be relatively easy to modify. Although a larger, custom renovation can truly provide the best options to meet your unique safety & accessibility needs, there are also plenty of easy and affordable ways to update a bathroom on a budget. Here are our top tips to keep your bathroom functional and modern—without undergoing a major renovation.
1. Tub Cuts
If stepping over a high tub wall makes you nervous, tub cuts may be the answer. BuildAble can convert your bathtub into a step-in shower by simply removing a piece of the tub wall and replacing it with a step—all in just a few hours. Lowering the tub wall greatly reduces the risk of falling, particularly for people who struggle with balance.
There are different tub cut options, including a standard size, and an ultra-low step for deep soaker tubs.
2. Anti-Slip Coating
Applying anti-slip treatment to your tub or shower floor is an easy way to improve safety and confidence in the bathroom. The clear coating grips onto most tile, ceramic and porcelain surfaces that become dangerous when wet. You can find anti-slip coating at some hardware stores, or have a contractor, such as BuildAble, that specializes in accessible living ensure proper coating.
3. Grab Bars
Grab bars are simple bathroom additions that make a huge difference. You can place them along almost any wall, but they’re most useful in showers, in tubs, and near toilets for balance support. Grab bars also help wheelchair users transfer to a shower seat or toilet seat in one swift motion.
Grab rails don’t need to make your bathroom look like a hospital either: there are plenty of colours and finishes to match your interior design style, like chrome, matte black and bronze. There are also pressure fit supports, such as a SuperPole & Super Bar that can make transferring much easier throughout your home. To learn more about the correct positioning and selection of grab bars, check out our complete guide here.
4. Shower Seats & Benches
Shower and tub seats are a must-have for those who sit or need help from a caregiver while bathing. With a textured seat and waterproof material, they prevent you from slipping off and can even straddle the outer wall of your tub.
If you prefer a sleek alternative, shower benches are great for those with full mobility who need a bit of extra support. Benches are also helpful for holding adjustable shower heads or shower products for easy access.
5. Adjustable Shower Head
Hand-held shower heads give you the versatility to reach all angles and adjust the height for sitting or standing. Adjustable shower heads only take a few steps and tools to install. ADA-Compliant with an adjustable slide rail and a longer hose, means you can take a seat and use your new shower head safely.
6. Motion Sensor Lights
Fumbling for the light switch in the dark can be a cause for trips and falls, and motion sensor lighting is an easy fix. The low-cost lighting solution is ideal for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, or visually impaired homeowners.
Consider buying under cabinet lighting for your vanity, overhead lights that mount to your ceiling, or sensor lights that plug right into an outlet.
7. Lever Handles
Traditional doorknobs and faucet knobs can be tricky to grip for people with muscular disabilities (and even more so with wet hands). So we recommend universally accessible lever handles or single-lever handles that control the temperature and water pressure with a single push. Remember to replace any knobs on your cabinet doors, drawers or shower handles, too.
8. Comfort Height Toilets & Toilet Risers
A higher toilet seat makes it easier to sit, stand or transfer without straining your muscles and joints. For lower budgets, opt for toilet seat risers that sit on top of the bowl with supportive armrests. And for a more permanent solution that's easier to keep clean (and looks great too), consider installing a toilet base riser underneath your toilet. We recommend this option as it means you can use a regular toilet seat that’s more familiar and comfortable. Matched with a Comfort Height or Right Height toilet means getting on and off the toilet with ease and lowering strain on knees and hips.
9. Adjustable Mirrors
Seniors and people with visual impairments may benefit from using a magnifying mirror in their daily routine. Wheelchair users can also use wall-mounted mirrors with an arm that swivels within their reach, offering a closer look than vanity mirrors. Magnifying mirrors with stands are also handy and can be tucked away for a tidy space.
Need a quick solution for your bathroom?
Browse our RapidAccess bathroom safety products that make any space safer with a few hours of installation. Our team can install bathtub conversions, shower solutions, grab bars, and more on the same day so you can be confident it's done right.