Making Life Easier: Accessibility and the Bathroom

July 15, 2015

When we were going to remodel our bathroom to make it more accessible for me in my scooter and with minimal use of my legs and right hand, everywhere I went—hospitals, clinics, coffee shops, stores—I checked out bathrooms, the entry, lay out, clearances, where grab bars were located, etc. Believe it or not, I found my perfect bathroom at local Bookstore; their unisex bathroom was so easy for me to use that I took measurements of everything and applied them to my remodeling plans. It worked out great and today I have a beautiful bathroom that is not only perfect for me but also very functional for others in my family.

Whether you plan to remodel or not, here are a few things to help make your bathroom more accessible.

• Raise the toilet seat. If you cannot afford to replace the toilet with a new one that sits higher off the floor, purchase an inexpensive portable seat that will fit over your current one to raise the seat 4-6 inches. You will find these and other helpful items at drug or home health stores.

• Add grab bars in convenient locations. Only you know the proper height and angle that is right for you; make sure grab bars are installed where they give you the help you need. When installing permanent grab bars, be sure to install securely into the studs or a reinforced wall.

• Create an open layout that allows you to enter, move, and turn around easier. A pedestal sink or open cabinet design helps you get closer to the sink; easy-glide drawers and drawer organizers keep everything at your fingertips.

• Consider changing your bathroom faucet. Kitchen faucets tend to be longer, reaching further over the sink, and easier to turn on and off with one hand than typical bathroom faucets.

• Keep everything you use regularly within easy reach. I have a collection of clear containers on my bathroom counter that hold cotton balls and other morning necessities, a teaspoon in my toothbrush holder, a magnet inside my medicine cabinet to hold my fingernail file, hooks under the sink for my washcloth and hand towel, and my underwear in a drawer so it’s handy when I get out of the shower.

• Create a barrier-free shower or bathing area. Remove any steps or external lips so you can move easily into or out of the bathing area; tile floors slanted toward a flush, in-floor drain and a floor length shower curtain will keep water inside. Add a shower seat, even a webbed or plastic lawn chair will do, so you can sit while showering, and consider exchanging your fixed shower head with an adjustable bar or inexpensive hand held model.

• If you have trouble wiping your backside, you might install a bidet device that easily connects to a standard toilet, providing hand control of the direction and flow of the rinse water.

Want to see my bathroom and learn more tips? Watch Everyday Tips When Living with PPMS: Your Bathroom and Grooming

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.