Providing Plumbing Solutions Since 1986

Plumbing for Mobility

No one likes to think about a time when mobility may become an issue. Yet accidents, surgery, and disease happen. Aging can result in deteriorating mobility too. If it does, your home will need to adapt to your increased needs.

That includes plumbing, particularly in the bathroom.

Some simple items can be added, such as attaching non-slip materials in the bathtub and the shower floor to help prevent slipping and falling. Some showers have a non-slip surface built-in.

No-slip surfaces for a shower can encompass the whole bathroom floor. Smaller stall varieties can be converted with a Schluter or equivalent system.

The system is available in a variety of formats from prefabricated lightweight shower trays that are easy to install to a Portland cement mortar bed, where the base can be custom built to fit any shape. A waterproofing system can be applied to floors and walls and then the tile is added to the top surface. There is also a shower and tub kit to convert existing combination models.

Adding a bench in a shower can be a good idea too, whether it is built-in with tile or a standalone made from wood slats. The most popular material choices can range from teak wood to bamboo, cedar, and marble. For adults with mobility issues, a plastic and metal combination is common. Changing the shower head fixture to a slide bar makes the height adjustable. Also, consider installing grab bars.

Changing the faucet handles from round to levers makes it easier to turn the water off and on.

Sometimes more extensive remodeling is needed such as changing various fixtures. A low-threshold shower is wheelchair accessible yet suitable for all levels of mobility. Replacing the bathtub with a walk-in model may be another option.

Handheld showers can be easier to use for those with limited mobility. It makes for easier cleaning too.

Give some consideration to a right-height toilet. It’s more comfortable for those with disabilities because it is closer to the height of a chair, 17-19 inches above the floor, plus the seat. A standard toilet is approximately 15 inches from the floor, including the seat.

Some toilets have a bidet function – also available as an attachment – which can be helpful for those suffering from IBS or Crohn’s disease. A heated toilet seat has also been reported as helpful.

In some instances, countertops may need to be adjusted or replaced to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

New technology has made it much easier to personalize bathrooms and kitchens. Water temperature can be programmed from near or far, activated in the morning so that it’s running, warm, and ready to go by the time you enter the shower.

The shower can be activated by voice, phone, or controller. It can be set at a specific temperature and settings can be saved.

Other handy elements include changing the water spray settings to include massage or adding some aromatherapy with essential oil scents to hand-held showers.

Faucets have benefitted from the latest technology too. Voice-activated taps can be programmed for temperature and to deliver specific amounts of water for different tasks such as making a cup of coffee or tea or cooking.

Smart faucets have a no-contact, voice-activated approach to hand-washing. The water starts pauses for soaping and starts again to rinse hands. It can be controlled by voice, hand motion, or app.

Plumbtech Plumbing Inc. offers full-service bathroom and kitchen renovation design and layout services. For help with all your plumbing needs call 705-722-7209. Estimates are free.

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