Health System Services | 5 Benefits of Bathroom Modifications

5 Benefits of Bathroom Modifications

Making modifications to a bathroom to accommodate the needs of the elderly or disabled can be much simpler than you think. There are a great many benefits to modifying your bathroom, whether you are simply downsizing and preparing to make your home more accessible for the future, or you require an immediate renovation. In particular, a bathroom can be a dangerous environment for an elderly or disabled person; there are many slippery surfaces, and most normal bathtubs or showers require you to step in or out of them, often causing slips and falls. Some simple modifications include grab bars for getting in and out of the bath/shower, and anti-slip flooring and rugs.

If more serious modifications are needed, roll-in showers and walk-in tubs provide access for the wheelchair-bound and those who need more assistance. A roll-in shower is a shower with a flexible low threshold that allows a wheelchair to roll in and out of the shower with ease. It may be equipped with grab bars or shower seats, and a flexible rubber stopper will keep the water contained in the shower. A walk-in tub is a bathtub with a door that allows the user to walk rather than step into a bathtub, eliminating many potential falls. Like a roll-in shower, it may also be equipped with grab bars and non-slip surfaces. Here are just 5 of the many benefits provided by bathroom modifications for the elderly or disabled:

1.

Modifications may allow someone who would have previously needed to live in an assisted living environment or nursing home the option to remain in their own homes. This will be much more cost-efficient to the user and the user’s family than residence in an assisted living environment. In 2017, the average cost per day for a shared room in a nursing home was $235 per day, which adds up to $85,775 per year. Depending on the type of roll-in shower, kits to install one can cost about $1,200 at the most basic, excluding installation. A walk-in tub can cost a bit more at $5,000-7,000 or more, but the costs of a nursing home per year far outweigh either of these modification options.

2.

The user also has the knowledge that they can remain comfortably in their own home rather than having to relocate. The family of the user can also have peace of mind knowing that their loved one has a much lower risk of slipping and falling in the bath or shower, which is a common accident for the elderly or the disabled.

3.

Bathroom modifications can be much more affordable than they may seem. In fact, many Medicaid programs cover home modifications so that the user can remain in their own homes. These Medicaid waivers, however, require that the unmarried beneficiary must have less than $2,000 in assets, not including his or her home, and monthly income must be less than $2,205. Additionally, the level of care needed to obtain one of these waivers must be the level that would be provided in a nursing home or in an intermediate care facility, and the person must require help for daily life activities. Financial aid is also available outside of Medicaid, however. Many Veteran’s Programs provide grants for home modifications, including the VA and Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services. The Department of Housing and Urban Development can also provide Home Improvement Loans.

4.

Walk-in tubs and Roll-in showers are quite easy to install. A walk-in tub can actually be installed by a local, licensed plumber or even by Home Services at Home Depot. A roll-in shower may be a bit more complicated to install, but it can be installed by many contractors and installation services, and altogether is similar to remodeling any bathroom.

5.

Either the tub or the shower can be installed to fit any preference or bathroom size. A roll-in shower can be adjusted to fit bathrooms of mostly any size, and can also be installed in a corner. In addition, the shower can be fit with grab bars and other accessories that may be useful based on individual preferences. A walk-in bathtub can also be made very luxurious with jets, heated seats, and even deck extensions so that an assistant can help the bather, if needed. Both options can be installed to best fit the user.