Whether you’ve been advised to make bathroom adaptations, or you’d simply like to make your routine a little easier, you’re in the right place. This page is your creative catalogue.

In this guide, we’ll discuss 19 bathroom adaptations for disabled people, from small mobility aids to stylish walk-in showers. For each one, we’ll describe how they work and how they can benefit your bathroom routine. We’ve also included adaptation ideas specifically for wheelchair users and visually impaired people.

Once you’re finished reading, you’ll have all the inspiration you need to create a bathroom that perfectly suits your needs. Here’s a quick rundown of the categories before we dive into more detail:

General mobility aids and adaptations

Mobility aids make bathrooms safer and more accessible. For many people, they’re essential parts of the bathroom. In this section, we’ve included a wide range of mobility aids, providing support in different areas of the room.

1. Grab rails

Grab rails are one of the most popular mobility aids, purely because they’re simple, flexible, and effective – you can affix grab rails to any position that suits your specific needs.

The most common positions include above the bathtub, making it easier to get in and out of the tub, and inside the shower cubicle. They also come in a variety of shapes, materials, and colours, so you can adapt your bathroom without spoiling the decor.

For extra subtlety, you can buy grab rails that double up as bathroom accessories, such as towel rails, toilet roll holders or soap dishes.

Key benefits

  • Provides support in any area of the bathroom
  • Can suit most decor themes
  • Subtle designs available

2. Assistance poles

While grab rails are standalone features affixed to the wall, assistance poles provide support from the floor to the ceiling. Usually placed by the toilet or bathtub, they make it easier to lift yourself up and down.

For people with limited mobility, or who are concerned about slippery floors, installing an assistance pole could be the right call.

Key benefits

  • Allows you to get up and down easily
  • Various handle grips are available
  • Increased independence for daily tasks

3. Bath lift

A bath lift is a powered seating device attached to your bathtub, lowering and elevating you in and out of the tub. Though they can be used independently, bath lifts are commonly used to assist carers in helping someone with limited mobility to access the bath safely.

Key benefits

  • Easy for users and carers
  • Comfortable design
  • Ensures safe bathing

4. Bathing cushion

A bathing cushion is an inflatable pillow – controlled via remote – that helps lower and elevate your upper back, helping you get in and out of the bath. They’re similar to bath lifts.

Better still, if you travel anywhere, you can take your bathing cushion with you, making them one of the most flexible bathroom adaptations for disabled and elderly people. Overall, they don’t provide quite as much all-around support as powered bath lifts, but they’re a more affordable option.

Key benefits

  • More affordable than a bath lift
  • Easy to use
  • Can be taken anywhere

5. Slip-resistant mats

Bathrooms are slippery places by nature. However, one of the easiest ways to safeguard yourself and those around you is by using slip-resistant mats.

As the name suggests, these sticky mats provide friction and support on otherwise slippery surfaces, such as your bathtub, shower tray, or bathroom floor. In essence, they allow you to move around the bathroom with more freedom and security.

Key benefits

  • Can be used anywhere inside the bathroom
  • Affordable and effective
  • Beneficial for all levels of mobility

6. Shower seats

Foldable or fixed shower seats allow you to sit and wash comfortably inside the shower. And by taking the weight off your feet, you’re less likely to slip or feel discomfort in your joints. But what’s the difference between the two seats?

It comes down to flexibility – foldable seats use up less room but need to be folded up and down. Fixable seats are ready to use at any time – you don’t need to open or close the chair.

Shower seats are particularly useful aids for wheelchair users, allowing smoother access in and out of the shower, whether that’s on your own or with extra assistance.

Key benefits

  • Increased safety
  • Affixed or portable options are available
  • Improved independence

7. Emergency pull string

Emergency pull strings are strategically placed cords that provide an easy way to call for assistance. They’re particularly useful aids to have in bathrooms because, inside the shower or bath, you’re unlikely to wear a personal trigger. Once pulled, the string will alert caregivers who can then help.

Key benefits

  • Provides assurance to users and caregivers
  • Can be placed anywhere in the bathroom
  • Quick and easy way to summon help

Specialist toilets

Here, we’ve included the best adaptations for helping you or your loved ones use the toilet with privacy, comfort, and independence.

8. Automatic bidet wash and dry toilet

Auto wash and dry toilets are ideal for users who want independence and privacy. They work in the same way as regular toilets, except the cleaning functions – that is, the warm air and water features – are all remotely controlled.

Most automatic toilets will flush themselves once the user leaves. Overall, this is one of the higher-spec bathroom adaptations for disabled and elderly users.

Key benefits

  • Offers independence and privacy
  • Full control over water and air temperature
  • Comfortable and easy to use

9. Height-powered toilet

Height-powered toilets automatically elevate and lower your lower body, making them ideal solutions for users with limited lower body mobility. You can also buy height-powered toilets with armrests, offering even more support.

Key benefits

  • Offer more independence on the toilet
  • Very easy to use
  • Choice of tilt or full rise seats available

10. Raised-height toilet

Raised toilet seats are one of the most subtle home adaptations for disabled and elderly people. How so? In most cases, the height difference is almost impossible to spot.

Generally, for people with limited lower body mobility, these toilets are much easier to use than regular, low-level models.

Key benefits

  • Height difference is very subtle
  • Easy to install
  • Variety of designs available

Aids and adaptations for wheelchair users

For wheelchair users, the bathroom can throw up unique challenges. Below, we’ve chosen the best adaptations to help solve those problems.

11. Floating or height-adjustable basins

In some bathrooms, it can be challenging to comfortably reach inside a basin and wash properly. The piping or fitted cabinet below gets in the way. An effective solution? Replace the obstructive basin with a floating or height-adjustable model.

Floating basins have free space below, all the way to the floor. This allows you to fit a wheelchair comfortably underneath. Alternatively, height-adjustable basins enable you to move the basin to your desired height each time, making them helpful bathroom aids for people with restricted growth, too.

Key benefits

  • Attractive additions to any bathroom
  • Easy to install
  • Improved hand hygiene

12. Sliding doors

When it comes to bathroom adaptations for disabled people, in particular for wheelchair users, doors are often overlooked.

For example, swing-hinge doors can sometimes prove challenging or time consuming for wheelchair users. On the other hand, sliding doors require less effort to open, close, and lock properly, and they take up less floor space.

Key benefits

  • Affords more floor space
  • Trip-free access
  • Easy to use

13. Widening doorways

Some doorways might not be wide enough to allow easy access for people using wheelchairs. To fix this, you can have your bathroom doorway widened.

But how wide should you go? Depending on the size of the wheelchair, the new doorway should measure at least 40 inches to 48 inches wide.

Key benefits

  • Increased independence
  • Assurance for carers and wheelchair users
  • Makes your bathroom routine far quicker and easier

14. Strategically-placed light switches

Just like swinging doors, light switches are one of the most overlooked home adaptations for disabled people. By strategically placing your light switches, you can turn entering and leaving the bathroom into a more seamless task. So, what’s the most suitable height?

Generally speaking, for front-on approaches in the wheelchair, the light switch shouldn’t be higher than 48 inches. For side-on approaches, it shouldn’t be higher than about 54 inches. If the light switch is above a bathroom counter, it shouldn’t be higher than 40 inches from the ground.

Key benefits

  • Improved safety with easy access to light
  • Increased independence
  • Benefits people with all levels of mobility

Aids for visually impaired people

In the UK, about two million people currently have some degree of sight loss. Thankfully, bathroom aids and adaptations for visually impaired people are becoming more readily available.

15. High contrast taps and tiling

If you’re visually impaired, then contrasting the colour and material of your taps and tiling can help you move around the bathroom more easily.

For instance, you could use a black tap against a white sink to help you locate the basin. Or, you could use different tiling materials to signify different areas of the bathroom. For example, wooden tiling could indicate the toilet area, while slab tiling could be used in the shower area.

Key benefits

  • Increased independence
  • Able to create a more stylish bathroom
  • Makes daily tasks much easier

16. Voice-activated shower

This is one of the higher-spec bathroom adaptations for disabled people and those with visual impairments. Also known as a smart shower system, voice-activated showers allow you to control your shower, including the pressure and temperature, without touching a button.

If you’d occasionally prefer manual control, you can install high contrast LEDs to help you locate the shower buttons more easily.

Key benefits

  • Very easy to use
  • Add value to your property
  • Can be controlled from anywhere in your home

Easy-access showers and baths

Rather than installing a few mobility aids here and there, you can opt for a new shower or bathtub altogether. Below, we’ll discuss the most popular types of accessible showers and baths.

17. Wet room

Wet rooms are one of most accessible bathroom features. First off, they don’t have any trip hazards. For that reason, they’re widely considered the most convenient option for disabled or elderly people.

Typically open planned, wet rooms are waterproofed shower areas of your bathroom and have drains flush to the floor. Rather than opening a shower door and stepping inside, you simply go in, wash, and leave.

Key benefits

  • Practical for users and carers
  • Save space in the bathroom
  • Cost effective adaptation

18. Walk-in shower

Unlike wet rooms, walk-in showers usually have an elevated shower tray – albeit a very low one. They also come with one or two partitions. Overall, they’re still easily accessible for disabled and elderly people, without any doors or high steps to worry about.

Key benefits

  • Practical for carers and users
  • Stylish addition to any bathroom
  • Increased independence

19. Walk-in bath

For people with limited mobility, it can be tricky getting in and out of the bath. Walk-in baths make the process far easier. Instead of clambering in and out of the tub, you simply open the side door and get in. There are a number of designs available, suitable for different tastes, budgets, and size of bathroom.

Key benefits

  • Increased independence
  • Makes bathing quicker and easier
  • Wide choice of designs available

Financial help options

Unfortunately, life costs £583 more per month on average if you’re disabled. If you’re worried about the cost of your aids and adaptations, you should know that there are ways you can save money.

For starters, you can invite social services to assess your home – or the home of a friend or relative – in order to make recommendations on which adaptations might be needed. Your council should then pay for each adaptation costing less than £1,000, which usually covers grab rails and ramps.

For more expensive adaptations, such as walk-in showers or wider doors, you could be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant. If you’re disabled, you can get up to £30,000 in England, up to £36,000 in Wales, and up to £26,000 in Northern Ireland. This grant is currently unavailable in Scotland.

You may also be eligible for VAT exemptions, saving you 20% on your bathroom adaptations.

Roundup

From grab bars to wet rooms, bathroom adaptations for disabled people are worthwhile investments. And these days, there are plenty of subtle and stylish options out there, providing extra levels of safety and accessibility.

Ultimately, the right aids and adaptations for your bathroom depend on your needs. For instance, wheelchair users might want to widen the door or install floating basins. Visually impaired people might prefer voice-activated showers, while elderly people will likely find better use from a bath cushion.

In our opinion, if there’s something that can improve your safety, comfort, and accessibility in your bathroom, it’s worth installing.

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