Author Topic: Accessible Shower  (Read 1444 times)

TrMama

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Accessible Shower
« on: August 27, 2018, 03:19:36 PM »
Has anyone put one of these in for an elderly family member? MIL lives in our basement suite and has reached the point where stepping in and out of the tub so she can shower is a hazard. The bathroom in question isn't huge, so that presents an extra challenge.

She's currently able to shower independently, but I foresee the day when she'll need help. I don't think we need a zero barrier edge (aka fully wheelchair accessible) because if she gets to that point we'll probably move her to a nursing home. Is this too optimistic? Zero barrier showers seem like a major flood risk.

 My main questions are:

- glass door or curtain?

- built in flip down seat or freestanding stool?

- how many grab bars? Where should we put them?

- what do you wish you'd done differently?

hops

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 03:48:53 PM »
When my parents did this for my grandma a few years ago they were advised to hope for the best and plan for the worst, so they made it fully wheelchair accessible. That later came in handy because there were times she injured herself and needed a chair short-term prior to her moving to a nursing home.

They avoided a glass door so it was easier for them to maneuver when helping her bathe (and to reduce the risk of injury). I'm not sure of their reasoning for a freestanding stool, and don't remember how many total grab bars were installed, but the bar on the side wall was extra-long to give her more room to change positions.

former player

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2018, 04:08:42 PM »
By "zero barrier shower" do you mean either a wet-room style or a shower tray style?  Either is perfectly safe from flooding provided that they are properly installed and the drain is regularly cleaned and cleared of obstructions.


A glass door is more predictable and gives a better handhold in emergencies than a shower curtain, but if your MIL will be sitting down to shower you may only need a half-height barrier alongside the toilet, which would leave more room to manouevre.  It's possible to buy freestanding shower stools designed for use by people with mobility problems (nice wide base, low handles on either side), but the gold standard is a stool attached to the wall: whether your MIL should have this this depends on her needs and how she feels.  Floors inside and outside the shower should be non-slip, and I'd also suggest removing any rugs because they become a tripping hazard.

Grab bars go where your MIL wants them - you want to work through all this with her, because everyone needs something slightly different, in different places and at different heights and angles.  In your bathroom as pictured I would certainly want to make sure that the towel rail is also secure enough to act as a grab rail - you may need to replace it.  You may find that one of those toilet chairs that fits over the toilet is a good idea (a circular seat goes over the bowl to raise the height of the seat and there are handles on either side) to make sitting and getting up much easier.

Walk-in showers with glass doors, grab bars and raised toilet seats kept my elderlies at home with minimal help in the bathroom until the last few weeks of their lives.  Well worth the effort of making this work for them, in independence and dignity.  You may find that social services or local charities can lend specialist equipment or offer advice on modifications.

Cranky

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2018, 04:25:10 PM »
When we remodeled our bathroom with the intention of aging in place, we got rid of the tub no one used. We have two grab bars and glass doors and a movable bench.

The one thing we should have done is get a shower head with a detachable hose, but thats cheap enough to switch out.

Well see how well it all works this fall after I have knee surgery!

TrMama

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 04:42:07 PM »
By "zero barrier shower" do you mean either a wet-room style or a shower tray style?  Either is perfectly safe from flooding provided that they are properly installed and the drain is regularly cleaned and cleared of obstructions.


A glass door is more predictable and gives a better handhold in emergencies than a shower curtain, but if your MIL will be sitting down to shower you may only need a half-height barrier alongside the toilet, which would leave more room to manouevre.  It's possible to buy freestanding shower stools designed for use by people with mobility problems (nice wide base, low handles on either side), but the gold standard is a stool attached to the wall: whether your MIL should have this this depends on her needs and how she feels.  Floors inside and outside the shower should be non-slip, and I'd also suggest removing any rugs because they become a tripping hazard.

Grab bars go where your MIL wants them - you want to work through all this with her, because everyone needs something slightly different, in different places and at different heights and angles.  In your bathroom as pictured I would certainly want to make sure that the towel rail is also secure enough to act as a grab rail - you may need to replace it.  You may find that one of those toilet chairs that fits over the toilet is a good idea (a circular seat goes over the bowl to raise the height of the seat and there are handles on either side) to make sitting and getting up much easier.

Walk-in showers with glass doors, grab bars and raised toilet seats kept my elderlies at home with minimal help in the bathroom until the last few weeks of their lives.  Well worth the effort of making this work for them, in independence and dignity.  You may find that social services or local charities can lend specialist equipment or offer advice on modifications.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll absolutely be asking MIL for her opinion on the different options. However in the beginning, she has no idea what she needs and isn't one to do practical research. So I'd like to have some idea of the pros and cons of each option before I present it to her. Of course, this stuff is all new to me too.

Why are flip down seats the "gold standard'? How would installing one (on the left hand side of the shower in this case) be different from a stool?

A detachable shower head is also high on the list of must haves. It'll help her shower alone now, and if someone ever needs to help her wash it will be even more important.

Yes, you're right that the existing towel bar needs to be replaced with a proper grab bar. She's already got a raised seat on the toilet. And obviously the cat box needs to be relocated. I've been after her about that for years, but hopefully last week's near fall will have finally convinced her.

former player

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2018, 02:20:21 AM »
I'm only an amateur "expert" in all this, not a professional one, but a flip down seat 1) is fixed in place rather than being able to move in ways which might be unexpected and unwanted and 2) in flip-up mode provides more space for manoeuvring (and cleaning).  But a moveable shower seat is pretty cheap, so you could easily start with that and move on to a fixed on if it seems like it would be better - I think doing it that way can help with acceptance of the need for help rather than going straight to the full "you're disabled get over it".

Linea_Norway

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2018, 02:34:17 AM »
Does your bathroom have a good membrane on the floor, so that you know it is waterproof?
You should also test whether the drain is in the lowest point of the floor, like it is supposed to be. You can test this with a marble.

I would choose a solution that is based on your MIL's future needs. She will probably get worse over time.

rockstache

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2018, 08:36:33 AM »
All good suggestions above so far. A shower chair is best angled to face the water for obvious reasons, but from your picture, the challenge I see is that she will have to either step in around the shower chair, or face backwards. How much room is between the toilet and tub? Is it possible that she could access the shower from that end? A good exercise for you is: pretend you have a broken leg. How are you going to get in and out of the tub?

We use the following:

-toilet extension to raise the height of the toilet (we have a grab bar in reach of the toilet, but since that is not an option from your picture, I would definitely go with a frame with armrests. Otherwise she will probably utilize the TP holder, which is not safe.
-grab bars in the shower (one on the left where the towel rack is and  long angled one in the shower along the wall)
-shower chair with back (ours is free standing)
-rubber grips on the tub floor to prevent slippage
-no bath mats (even the rubber ones can be a trip hazard if you catch your foot on them)
-detachable shower head (with a little hook that allows you to keep it permanently affixed to a lower location, rather than just hanging down in the tub)
-A curved shower curtain rod to allow a bit more space for washing in the seated position

We got the shower chair on craigslist, the grab bars at Home Depot, and my husband installed everything himself, so it really didn't cost too much.

SunnyDays

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2018, 09:40:16 AM »
Can you access an Occupational Therapist to do a home visit and advise you?

Cranky

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Re: Accessible Shower
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2018, 11:33:05 AM »
Also, there are bars that fit over the side of the tub. My mom had one on her tub, as she hated showers, and it was pretty sturdy. So that might help in the short run.