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Make Your Life Easier by Creating an Accessible Shower.
Sponge baths are okay, but there's nothing like a shower to rinse off the grime of the day. There's something about warm water softly pelting your skin that can be so soothing. But where there is water on the floor, there are risks, particularly if your sense of balance is not strong, you tire easily when you stand or you cannot stand at all.
The biggest hazard is getting into and out of the shower stall. To start with, all shower floors should have a non-slip surface, or at least make use of non-slip strips or a bath mat with suction cups. It is also important to keep the floor clean, assuring that there isn't a build up of grease or mold that could become slippery.
Most shower stalls have a threshold that retains the water, creating a small step that might be difficult for some people to maneuver over safely. For people who have trouble in this area or who use a wheelchair, the ideal solution is to have a curb less shower where the flooring is designed to retain the water naturally, without the threshold. This format is sometimes called a "roll-in" shower, as a shower chair on wheels can be rolled directly into the stall. If you are designing your bathroom now, planning for this universal shower style that everyone can use will serve you well. But if you already have a bathroom, and retrofitting the curb less style shower is not feasible, there are some other possibilities to consider:
• The Advantage Rail is a floor-mounted pivoting support bar that can move with you in safe, small steps as you approach and go over the threshold. You can make use of a shower seat once you are in the stall, so that you don't need to be standing while you shower.
• Grab bars should be mounted on the wall in strategic locations where they can help provide support. It is important to follow all precautions regarding appropriate wall preparation when installing a grab bar. If the wall is not strong enough to support the weight, the grab bar will not be able to provide the support you need! Do not be tempted to use a towel bar as a grab bar substitute. Towel bars are not designed to hold the weight of a person if they begin to fall.
If you are unstable standing in the shower, a standard shower head is not going to work well for you. You have to twist to adjust the water flow and then move back again to be under the water. There are safer ways to adjust the shower spray once you are seated in the shower:
Adjustable shower arms can also be very helpful if you need to direct the water differently. For example, if you are very tall or if you must be seated more towards the far side of the shower, the water spray needs to be higher or moved further into the shower stall. Extender shower arms can add up to 9 inches to redirect the water.
Use a terry cloth robe when you step out of the shower. It is easy to slip into, will not fall off and does not require any balance as you dry off. Make sure that the surface you step onto is secure and not slippery. Even a little water on the floor can spell danger. Sit on the toilet, a chair or a bench as you dry your feet and legs.
About the Author: Cryste Wisne has been in the California Custom Shower Business for the past 10 years. She has used her vast experience as a Contractor , design, installation, and implementation of custom showers in California.