remodeling to accommodate elderly with cane/ low vision

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Bostongal, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Bostongal

    Bostongal New Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Boston, MA
    We are expanding our 5 x 11 bathroom outward by 3 ft. after the existing stack pipe a third of the way in, which will be able to accommodate a wheelchair if needed for the future.

    My father in law has low vision, which makes him more susceptible to falling, and in now walking with a cane. Should I make the countertop 32" for wheelchair height or will that be a problem for him when he visits?

    Also, which would be better - a 48 x 34 transfer shower to allow for a storage drawer at the sink plus a modest linen cabinet, or a roll in shower of 60 inches, which would eliminate the storage? I am also planning to have a 1/2 inch threshold and place the shower on top of the concrete slab.

    Any suggestions?

  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    As far as the lav, are you planning to have it open underneath for wheelchair access? If so, height is an issue. I believe there are some websites which can help you with this.

    On the shower, I have experience on this with my mother, who lived with us for 6 years before she passed away. I believe the drive-in shower is much easier for the caregiver and the person. Transfer showers can be awkward, especially if the person is severley unable to help themselves. As long as you can get them from the bed into what is called an assistant's chair ( a chair with small wheels, must be pushed) it is very easy to roll that in, and the chair is OK in the water.

    As far as the floor, get a contractor who really knows what he is doing in the waterproofing arena. For some good ideas, go to
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Since the shower must be sloped to the drain (1/4"/foot), if you want it to roll in, the shower floor itself must start out below the room (unless you build up the floor). A typical shower floor is around 2-3" thick at the edges and consists of three layers (not counting the tile): a mortar preslope, a liner, a final slope. The tile is put on top of the final slope. If you don't do it this way, you'll have problems. A simpler way, and maybe best for this type of shower is to use Kerdi from . This is a waterproofing membrane that can be extended out into the rest of the bathroom, or used in conjunction with another of their products called Ditra. Using these products, your full bathroom can be waterproofed.
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