Some people like to wallow in a warm bath for half an hour or more while others prefer to shower. Many younger people prefer the idea of a shower as it is quick and easy (and is also environmentally friendly as it uses less water than a bath).
However, when we get older, using a shower may not seem as easy as it once did. In this case we may want to install a walk-in shower in order to ensure maximum safety. One advantage of a walk-in shower is that it can also help to give the bathroom a clean-lined look, creating the impression of more space.
Standard shower units require a door to prevent water getting out on to the bathroom floor, but senior friendly showers of walk-in design do not use a door which helps with that open look. Most pre-fabricated walk-in showers have a small curb to prevent the water running out on to the bathroom floor, but a custom-built unit can be designed with no curb and just a gently sloping floor which is ideal for seniors – especially those with mobility problems or joint trouble. The shower can also be designed – assuming the bathroom has sufficient space – to accommodate a roll-in shower chair which is again ideal for seniors with disabilities.
Even if a roll-in shower chair is not a possibility, senior friendly showers should certainly include a seat of some sort. This can be a fold away seat or it can be a portable seat with anti-slip feet.
One other feature of senior friendly walk-in showers is that they can be designed with a multi-nozzle spray. This enables you to have as many as ten nozzles which spray water at the user from all sides.
The Possibility Of Slips And Falls
Senior friendly showers should also allow for the possibility of slips and falls. To this end, the floor of the shower should be of a non-slip material or anti-slip tiling, and there should be grab handles or rails provided. Grab rails can be fixed into position or they can be of the grab bar design incorporating powerful suction cups at each end. These can be applied to any non-porous surface and have the advantage that they can be moved about the shower or the bathroom as required simply by depressing a lever at each end of the grab bar to release the suction cups.
Another idea for support in a walk-in shower is a safety pole. This can be attached to the floor and ceiling and support grab bars or handles which can be affixed to the pole as desired.
What about the costs? A pre-fabricated walk-in shower unit can be anywhere from about £600 to £2,000 depending on the quality and the size. If you are competent at installing plumbing and framing you could do this yourself, but if you need a professional this could be another £600 to £2,000 which will depend on the amount of plumbing required and the layout of the bathroom.
A custom walk-in shower for seniors is not something that you can undertake yourself and you will definitely need professional help with this. The shower pan is made of concrete laid by hand which is then covered with a waterproof membrane, followed by the shower flooring of choice. If you are having several nozzles fitted this will obviously require more plumbing and will add to the expense. Then there is the cost of wall construction which will need backing boards to hold the tiling, and if you are having heavy duty glass side walls this will also add to the cost. All in all, a custom senior friendly shower could run to anything between £4,500 and as much as £11,000 or £12,000.