Only 7% of homes in England and less than 10% in Scotland, have a bathroom safely adapted to Disability. The audacity! There are 14 million of us! And every single one of us needs a bathroom! A lot of Disabled people live in rental properties which makes permanent adaptations impossible to implement even if you DO get the funding. Despite proof that accessible features improve the lives of every single person, not just disabled people, landlords are often reluctant to implement support…and in most circumstances, they don’t have to either.
So while the powers-that-be attempt to improve the standard of housing provision for disabled folk, here’s how I’ve adapted our inaccessible bath-shower combo so I can have my wonderful dolphin showers more independently without causing more issues with my Disability!
Dolphin shower (/ˈdɒl.fɪn/ /ʃaʊər/) noun: When an individual engages in such a level of cleanliness that they are so squeaky clean they actually squeak with delight…like a dolphin! Includes intense smooth shaving (or body hair treatments if you’re cultivating the natural forest), exfoliating, thorough hair washing routine, body lotions and potions, face masks, etc.) Example: I'm going to have such an intense dolphin shower you could balance a ball off my nose then eat it *eeek-ek-ek-ek-whistle*!
These adaptations are for an ambulatory wheelchair user with upper mobility limitations; please be aware and respectful of your individual needs, your disability, and the specifications of your bathroom. You and your disability deserve support! You can find a list affiliate links to the products in this post at the bottom or if you click here.
Adaptations to Deep Disability Bath; nowhere to rest!
The sides are narrow, the plunge is deadly, and lifting my slippery soaking unstable bod out of the basin has so many risks! Plus there is a whole other able-bodied person in the house who needs standing room. While a folding chair from the wall would be ideal, we can’t just go driving into the tile with a drill without it costing the earth and losing our security deposit. And a standing chair in the bath would take up WAY too much room and wouldn’t be able to sit flat!
This chair sits on the sides of the tub. It uses downward force and corner stability to hold onto the slim sides of the bath requiring no holes. It doesn’t slide backward and forwards thanks to the gripped fixtures underneath but they can be loosened to move it oot the way for my partner! It’s designed to stay in place and not flip if I put pressure on one side. There’s also a wee soap caddy and a sturdy handle. It’s waterproof with drainage holes and a grippy texture so I can shower fully while sitting, reducing fatigue!
It keeps me elevated out of the tub so I have access to my products without cluttering the scene AND there is no Everest climb in and out of the bath!
Hold onto your hats; There’s no Grab Rails!
We have a fully tiled bathroom so the walls are slippery with no grip for equally slippery hands! This means moving around after a scrub session means cosplaying as an eldritch terror, clinging to the walls for dear life! Putting in fully secure grab-rails costs time, and money and comes with structural issues!
These temporary grab-rails have industrial-strength suction cups to hold securely onto the tile and can withstand 100kg of weight from any direction- NOT to be used for dead weight though! They are perfect for stabilizing on a slippery surface and reassuring. They have pressure indicators that turn red when they are not securely attached so you know when to NOT use them, and when to refix them. The bonus is that you can move them into different positions if your needs change.
High storage fixtures; I can’t reach it!
Permanent towel hooks and shelves are usually placed high up even for abled people to keep things off a wet floor that might have more questionable liquids than water on them. Before my bath, I had to move my towel onto the toilet so it was within reach without me risking a drop in blood pressure or an unsteady gate with slippery feet…making the hygiene element of hooks utterly redundant.
Heavy duty command hooks! So simple! And, once they’ve had their cure, waterproof and semi-permanent with easy, mark-free removal! The ones we use can withstand 3.6 kg of weight, which is more than even the heaviest of soaking towels! It can also be used for hanging loofahs or hooking your shower gel. We shoved ours right beside the bath at a lower height so I can access my towel independently!
Slippery, ungripperly floor!
The combo of wet porcelain and unsteady feet means that the chance of performing the ice capades at shower time is incredibly high! Combine that with the encore while getting out of the bath onto a gorgeous tiled floor…yikes! Regular bathmats are usually soft, and shift or tangle easier under feet that refuse to lift!
We went with some grippy fish underfoot in the bath. And It’s not ideal, I’ll be honest. There is a risk of the suction cups lifting and those whiley, rubber guppies making for the plug hole but it feels safer than nothing. But the big wonder is a quick-absorbing, solid stone bathmat. It’s flat and has limited flexibility so won’t get stuck under droopy-feet. It has a naturally grippy, non-slippy, non-fuzzy surface. A rubber mat to keep it in place on the floor. And it dries so quickly so there’s no having to hand it up or wring it out which is great for hands, wrists, and fingers with lower mobility! This is an investment piece. They’re a bit costly. I’m waiting to get my hands on it after trying several out and seeing and feeling the benefits (the major one being SAFETY)!- But I’ve found a few for you to take a look at!
In a world where accessible bathrooms are a rarity, we have to take matters into our own hands and adapt our rented spaces without building excavators or breaking the bank. These simple, temporary solutions can make a world of difference in ensuring you have a safe and comfortable bathroom experience.
So, if you're tired of slippery floors, inaccessible storage, or the lack of grab rails shop the affiliate links for the products mentioned in this post and start transforming your bathroom into a place of comfort and independence. Remember, you and your disability deserve support, and these adaptations are a step in the right direction. Embrace your inner "dolphin shower" and make your daily routine a flippin’ delight!