Home Safety and Bathroom Entry - Solid tips and tricks to get your walker or wheelchair through the bathroom door.

Home Safety and Bathroom Entry

enter in.

Home safety and bathroom entry can literally make or break your day! Entering and using the bathroom safely can certainly seem like a dance when factors are working against you. Factors such as walking with an assistive device, limited weight bearing status, limited strength, range of motion, poor balance, or a doorway that is too narrow. Each one holds potentially small but significant hazards and obstacles to just getting through the door.

You can't just put the bathroom on hold till all of the above are solved. So how do you sort it all out? First things first. You gotta get IN to the bathroom before we can worry about bathroom safety equipment inside the bathroom so let's get through the door to start with.

enter - the bathroom

Many factors will determine how you will enter the bathroom safely and how simple it will (or won't) be. Check this list:

  • Are you using an assistive device i.e. walker, cane, crutches, wheelchair?
  • What is your weight bearing status i.e. Toe Touch, Partial, Full, As Tolerated?
  • How strong are you?
  • What is your balance like?
  • How easily to you get winded?

Generally speaking, walking assistive devices don't hinder home safety and bathroom entry, so your safety is not compromised here. However, there are times when they just won't go through the door! This happens most often with walkers and usually only with those with wheels on them (sometimes Rollator 4-wheeled walkers with brakes). If your walker, with or without wheels, will no fit through the bathroom door, or your wheelchair is too big, you have several options:

  • For wheeled walkers; switch the wheels. Sometimes for various reasons or for no reason at all, the wheel attachments where put on so that the wheels fall to the outside of your walker base. (Sometimes this is done for a reason i.e. greater base of support etc.) You can simply switch these so that the wheels now sit on the inside of your walker base allowing for more "door jam" room for your walker. In the big picture of home safety and bathroom entry - safety starts at the door!

  • For walkers without wheels, we will need to do one of two things: Either take the bathroom door off temporarily or turn your walker sideways to maneuver into the bathroom. Do this carefully as this requires more strength, coordination and balance. Bathroom safety starts at the door!

  • For wheelchair users, taking the bathroom door of AND removing the small door stop trim. This is the narrow piece that sits in the middle of your door jam trip that stops the door when you close it. Removing this can add 1/2 to 1 inch of clearance for your wheelchair. If your doorway is still too narrow, I have seen people take the entire door jam off temporarily to add several more inches to the opening. May I say it again? Home safety and bathroom entry safety starts at the door! More tight squeeze tips in our new 74 page e-book!

  • If none of the above help your situation, especially with long term use of a manual or power wheelchair, you may want to hire someone to widen your doorway. If you are building a house and constructing specifications for your new home, you may want to consider making all your doors wider from the start even if you don't foresee yourself needing OR staying in that home long enough to utilize these conveniences. Home buyers are always aging and wanting to age in place. These people are looking for disability accessible homes to age in. Bathroom safety equipment already installed can be a strong selling point. Build smart.
  • We are in gathering a base of Certified Aging In Place Construction and Remodeling Company's that we can connect you with. Check back with us often or sign up for your Do-It-Yourself Home Health Physical Therapy newsletter to be notified when this connection service and other valuable news breaks!

    Home Safety and Bathroom Entry Money Saving Ideas

    More tight squeeze tips, wheelchair exercises and safety in our new ebook!

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