Accessibility in the Washroom – Retirement Concerns

Accessibility in the washroom is one of the major retirement concerns. Many problems arise with lack of accessibility in the washroom.  A typical 8’x5’ washroom with a vanity, bathtub, and a toilet is what we see in most homes today.  

What are the problems with small washrooms?

They are typically designed for one able bodied person.  Once there is someone else in that small space, problems happen.  Bring in a walker/wheelchair and it is next to impossible to move around safely and efficiently.

Fully Accessible Washroom Criteria

  • Washroom door at least 38” wide 
  • Lever handles on the door, sink and shower faucets
  • No bathtub
  • 5-foot low-threshold or wheel-in shower 
  • Moveable shower seat with rubber feet
  • Hand held shower head for sitting and showering
  • Grab bars in the shower
  • Textured shower floor
  • Removable or no glass shower door at all
  • Lower vanity height 
  • Recessed vanity under the sink for knee space
  • Large cabinet handles – no knobs!
  • 5-foot turn radius in front of the toilet 
  • Two exposed walls adjacent to the toilet for grab bars
  • Reinforced support behind walls for grab bars to be installed when needed
  • Right-height toilet with an elongated bowl
  • Lower light switches
  • Non-slip floor tiles.

These designs allow homecare to safely and effectively provide service.  It is also more comfortable for the individual receiving the care.  

Some retirees try to rationalize and say, when that time comes, they will renovate their current home to allow for a larger washroom.

Reasons why a renovation may not be the best choice

  • When you need an accessible washroom you need it now, not in 5 months 
  • What washroom will you use during the renovation?
  • Most homes have no extra space to take away from within the home
  • Most homes have the master bedroom and main bathroom on the second floor
  • If you are sick or injured, are you in the right frame of mind for deciding on renos?
  • Renos are dusty and noisy, do you want to live in that?
  • What about the rest of the home?  If your washroom is small, so is everything else.

The best solution is to plan ahead and purchase a fully accessible home sooner than later.  Don’t wait for the what if.  What if there is nowhere appropriate for you to go? 

Decisions we refuse to make today are decisions that are made for us tomorrow.

Looking for ideas about accessibility in the kitchen? click here

Looking to find a builder who designs with full accessibility in mind? click here