Yet, many people are beginning to implement the guidelines in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), when designing residential bath areas as well.
· Doorways must be a minimum of 32 inches wide to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Doors should swing out rather than in, with clearance on both sides. This is in case someone falls in the bathroom and blocks the doorway. But
· The threshold of the doorway should be even with the adjacent floor.
· Provide for an area large enough to hold a five-foot circle to allow a wheelchair 360-degree turn. Consider installing a barrier-free shower.
· Make sure a wheelchair can roll up to the sink with knee room underneath. Do not block access with a vanity cabinet. Make sure shelves, baskets and trays are at accessible heights from a seated position.
· Avoid hard-to-open latches and door handles. Consider using lever handles.
· Mount bathtub faucet controls toward the entry side of the tub where they can be reached easily.
· Add accessible faucets, such as single-handle or lever type that do not require a strong grip to operate.
· Add a wall-mounted handheld showerhead, preferably mounted on a slide bar so someone of any height can use it.
· Install a seat at the head of the tub or inside the shower enclosure.
· Consider installing a programmable faucet that limits water temperature to prevent scalding.
· Make sure that lighting is bright when needed, but provide for a low level alternative so that someone isn't blinded by it in the middle of the night.
· Provide wall-mounted grab bars both in the toilet area and in the tub and/or shower. Use "L" shaped, horizontal and/or vertical bars.
· Choose impact-resistant tub and shower enclosures.
· Be certain that all flooring materials are non-slip, including throw rugs.
· Use door locks that can be opened from outside in case of emergency.
· Toilets should be a height without the seat of either 16 ½ inches (used in residential construction) or 18 inches (used in commercial construction) to make it easier for someone in a wheel chair.
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