Going Green: How to Turn Your Walk-in Shower into a Handicapped Shower Going Green: How to Turn Your Walk-in Shower into a Handicapped Shower
If you have a walk in shower that you want to turn into a handicapped shower, there are a few fairly simple changes you can make to accomplish this. Having a walk-in shower itself instead of a standard tub shower will make access for disabled individuals easier in the first place without further alteration. However, if you or someone else who uses the shower are more severely disabled or are in a wheelchair, you may find it necessary to do some more extreme renovations to your shower to make it into a handicapped shower.
Step 1 - Lower the Curb
Probably the most major obstacle to easily and safely entering and leaving a shower for most people with disabilities is getting over the curb or tub wall. As this article assumes that you already have a walk-in shower, we will forget the tall tub walls. There are several alternatives you have in making the curb of your shower more accessible. Certain lowered drains allow for a much shorter curb to be installed. There are also "speed bump" style shower curbs that will retain water but will allow a wheelchair to easily roll into a shower. You will most likely have to have this part of the shower alteration done professionally.
Step 2 - Install Non-Slip Surfaces
Once you have had you shower curb altered appropriately, it is important that you do not slip while walking around the outside or inside of the shower area. You can purchase porous rubber mats that will prevent slipping and will actually cushion you to a certain extent should you happen to fall.
Step 3 - Replace Doors with Curtains
Especially if you are in a wheelchair, it is often far easier to navigate through a floor length shower curtain than it is to make your way through a latched shower door. For this step, you could either remove just the door to your walk-in shower and replace it with a narrow shower curtain held in place with a short curtain rod in the old doorway, or you can remove the entire plastic or glass barrier and replace with a full sized shower curtain and rod.
Step 4 - Install Grab Rails
Grab rails of many different shapes and sizes can be purchased and installed very easily in any area. Do some measuring and planning before purchasing your grab rails to make certain that you can fit them in helpful and safe places in your handicapped shower.
Step 5 - Hand Held Shower Heads
You can make showering easier and more convenient for anyone in a wheelchair or with a disability by changing out your old stationary shower head. Stationary shower heads can be extremely difficult to reach for persons with disabilities and people who are in wheelchairs. Remove your old stationary shower head and replace it with a hand held one for much greater safety and convenience.