What special equipment or design features should I add to my bathroom for someone with a disability?

The needs of people with disabilities vary according to the type of disability involved. The best advice is to review the specifications of universal design (see our Bathroom Remodeling Workbook) and evaluate the helpfulness of each recommendation. You might find that these guidelines include ideas that are not necessary, or you might find that they do not go far enough to make the bathroom safe and accessible.

Here are some of the major considerations:

- use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets throughout the bathroom;

- use moisture-proof electrical fixtures near the tub, shower, sinks, and toilets;

- install only anti-scald faucets;

- choose lever-type handles on faucets;

- avoid steps or platforms;

- choose a non-slip surface on tub and shower tray;

- test the tub before buying to be sure everyone can get in and out of it;

- ensure that tub and shower water-temperature controls are easily accessible from within the tub or shower;

- use only safety glass in shower doors;

- raise electrical receptacles to 15 or 18 inches above the floor;

- build door openings with a 34 – 36 inch width;

- allow a minimum of 18 inches of clear floor space around all doors in the open position;

- allow a clear turning space of 5 feet in diameter;

- plan for color contrast between floor surfaces and trim and between countertops and front edges or cabinet faces;

- place light switches 35 – 44 inches above the floor (maximum);

- place thermostats at 48 inches height;

- use hand-held showerheads in all tubs and showers in addition to any fixed heads;

- look seriously at a curbless shower or tub with an integral seat;

- allow a clear space of 3 feet in front and to one side of the toilet, with 18 inches on the other.

Some other articles you might find helpful:

What can be done to make a kitchen more accessible and convenient for someone with a disability?

How should I design a bathroom for an elderly person?

Getting Average Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Here are a list of more articles and article categories that might interest you.

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