I have lived in no fewer than eight apartments and homes in which I was: a) a renter b) a wheelchair user and c) on a tight budget.
Living in a rental property that you need to make safe and accessible always seems to require a little bit of creativity because everything needs to be able to be returned to its prior state when you move.
Unless you happen to have a landlord who is willing and able to make permanent modifications. I’ve had that happen once, not coincidently, I was renting from my parents so they had a bit of a soft spot for their tenant.
Now that we have purchased our first home I am using a lot of these same products and modifications because a remodel is way out of the budget right now.
I always start with the bathroom because it will need to be accessible upon move in and it is the place in the home most likely to have an unexpected fall when modifications are not in place.
There are lots of stores where you can find similar items to the these, I typically purchase based on what is best value. I am always looking to save money but not at the expense of quality, I would rather spend a little bit more on a better modification that will be safer, easier to use, and last longer.
Portable Grab Bar
These will only set you back $10-$20 each and are a literal lifesaver for those of us with balance difficulties. I use several in my shower like these.
I actually prefer suction grab bars to permanent fixtures because they can be placed at the ideal height and location(s) in the shower and bath for the user. We aren’t all built the same so a standard ADA grab bar may not be the ideal set up for everyone.
An Amazon search of Shower Chairs and Benches will turn up nearly 5,000 results. It can be a little bit overwhelming, especially if you have never used a shower bench before or if you are buying for somebody else.
-Do you have size constraints because of the dimensions of your shower?
-Do you need your shower chair to be portable?
–Can you stand or will you need a transfer bench (a bench that goes over the tub so that a wheelchair roll up right next to it)?
-Do you want a backrest and/or handles?
-Do you want a padded seat? This may be helpful if you are bony or are prone to pressure sores, I personally use a padded seat but find that I need to replace my shower bench every year or so because it is harder keep as clean as a bench without padding.
Handheld Shower Head
Replacing an existing shower head with a handheld unit is a pretty easy job, unless, of course, you are the one in need of it. So, grab a friend or hire a pro and make this modification, it makes bathing so much easier and more enjoyable.
Like most everything these days there are tons of options from a basic unit which you can typically find for less than $20; to a top of the line Moen model that will set you back $120 and require a bit more expertise for installation.
I would only recommend a full set-up like the Moen for a remodel. For the rest of us, a more budget friendly option is more than adequate.
While you can find handheld shower heads for around $15, I personally would splurge a bit here and go for the LED Shower Head with Temperature Display. It is modern and elegant, but mostly it is practical because those of us with mobility issues often have loss of sensation and are at risk of burning our skin in the shower.
The temperature display would be helpful for those of us showering independently but would be even more helpful for those who have assistance in the shower.
Also, as a parent of a toddler who I bathe in the same shower/bath that I use. I wish I would have found this shower head sooner.
Questions? Comments? Other products you use and love or hate? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment or contact me!