Shower Entrance; Curbless Showers
Let’s get right down to it!
In order for a shower to be accessible it should be curbless; meaning, the shower floor is flush with the bathroom floor.
This obviously means that a tub-shower, where the shower is hanging over the tub so in order to take a shower you must step over and into the tub, is definitely not accessible.
In the same vein, showers which have a lip or curb at the entrance will also not be accessible because they require stepping over a raised surface.
Now, if any of these are currently the case in your home no need to fret, I will give a bunch of solutions for adapting the shower space to make it more accessible.
Tub Transfer Devices
If removing your current tub/shower situation seems daunting or undoable for you, there are pieces of equipment out there which can help you transfer over the tub or curb and into the shower without physically stepping over the obstacle.
The simplest piece of equipment out there (which is even often covered by medicare!) is called a tub transfer bench.
This bench is a type of extended chair/bench which you place halfway into the tub and halfway out. Of the 4 legs, 2 legs remain outside the tub while the other 2 are placed inside the tub. The legs are adjustable to overcome any height difference between the bathroom floor and the raised tub. The user sits down on the part of the bench which sticks out of the tub and then slowly scoots over to the end of the bench which is in the tub. The user then slides and swings both feet over the tub while in the sitting position.
I am sure this sounds quite confusing but use the visual picture below or click on the video link to help clarify and explain.
Disclaimer: Please consult with a doctor or therapist before using any equipment to ensure that it is safe for you.
Replacing the Tub with a Shower
This is more doable than it sounds. Obviously this can get costly and each job will be unique based on the bathroom set-up, but it can be done!
Many times, a prefab shower can be installed in the space where the tub is and plumbing should not be a big deal as the lines can remain in place for the new shower.
Because each situation will require its own TLC for the best fit, it is difficult for me to give you specific products. There are just so many factors which can affect the removal and installation of a new shower. But now that you know it’s possible, you can enter the modification process well-educated so that when you speak with contractors and plumbers you can make sure you make the best possible decision.
Something really important to keep in mind is that there are both curbless and shower pan prefab shower kit options. If you are here reading this, then you most likely want the curbless option for maximal accessibility.
Quick Tidbit on All Curbless Showers
As I am sure you are thinking, if there is no curb, the water must get everywhere! But no, any qualified plumber installing the shower should know the tricks of the trade to make sure the water drains properly and stays contained to the shower area.
For example, the shower should be sloped with the drain at the lowest point so that the water drains into the drain. There are various ways to actually create the slope for the drain which we will not go through over here as it gets quite tedious and each situation will require a different method depending on existing conditions, set-up etc.
Your job is to ask about the curbless options and make sure the drainage is taken into consideration in the plans.
For more info on replacing a tub with a shower, check out this post by HouseLogic.
Walk in Tub
The last option we will mention here is the walk-in tub option. These can be quite costly as well, but are such a cool option for those who still want to take their relaxing, luxurious baths. These tubs still have a step to get in but quite a bit lower than a standard tub which makes it more accessible for those with mobility issues.
These are obviously on the custom side of things so as mentioned before with the prefab tub replacements, you will need to ask your local plumber, contractor or vendor for the best options for your situation.
Ideally, a curbless shower is the best for maximal accessibility. There are alternative solutions out there though to increase the accessibility of an existing tub/shower set-up. We hope you found one that suits you and your needs!
That’s that for Shower Entrance; Curbless Showers.
CLICK HERE for more info on showers.
As always, contact us with comments/questions.
To safe and happy homes,
Golda, a licensed Occupational Therapist and Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS professional) was inspired to specialize in an area which she felt would increase her clients’ quality of life beyond typical therapy treatment sessions. Golda embraces the idea of increasing clients’ abilities to reside in their homes barrier-free as providing a level of quality of life which cannot be matched. Follow along with Golda on her journey of creating a comprehensive resource center for home accessibility modifications here at adapttostay.com.