How to Make My Shower Accessible?

We don’t tend to think about the accessibility of our shower until something happens to us, and we can’t freely access it anymore. The reasons you may suffer from lack of mobility may be many… an accident, a disease, or even, reduced mobility caused by aging. In this article, we discuss alternatives to making your shower accessible, so you can regain the independence, safety and privacy of accessing your shower on your own. 

Government Aid for Disabled People

If you are disabled, Waikaha – the Ministry of Disabled People in NZ  may be able to help you with funding bathroom modifications to make it easier for you to use. According to the Waikaha website, below are some of the modifications that the Ministry may fund:

  • Removing shower doors to provide more space
  • Using a bath board, transfer bench or swivel
  • Installing grab rails
  • Installing hand-held showers
  • Installing a wet a­rea shower 
Photo Source: Canva

What is a wet shower area?

A wet  shower area  is levelled with the floor, therefore making it easier for a person with disability or reduced mobility to get in and out of the shower. The bigger the shower area the better, so that you can comfortably fit a wheelchair or chair for the comfort of the person effected.

Usually, these types of showers will have 2 walls, a handrail might be installed, and a movable shower rose is mounted, so it makes it easy for the person to move the shower head up and down, so it is easier for them to clean themselves.

In saying that, it does not mean that a wet area is the best option for you. There are a few things you should consider before deciding what modifications you will make to your bathroom. 

Key Points to Consider Before Modifying Your Bathroom

  • How long will you be living in your current home? If you are renting, you may not be able to undertake a whole renovation. Or you may own your house, but your circumstances might be changing the in the next couple of years. Even if you qualify for a government aid for the modification of your bathroom, a renovation might be an expensive exercise, so before starting any renovation think in the long run. ­­
  • If you have decided to go ahead with the renovation, then consider how the whole layout of the bathroom plays out. Are you going to have enough space to move safely and freely? Sometimes making your bathroom accessible will be as “simple” as replacing your former shower enclosure to a wet shower area. Other times, you might have to move the position of your vanity or cabinets. In the end, it always pays out to plan ahead.
  • If you happen to have more than one bathroom in your home, make an assessment with a specialist bathroom renovation company, as they should point out to you which one would be the most practical and cost effective to modify.
  • Finally, sometimes modifying your bathroom not might be the best option for you, because it can be costly and disruptive. So, an easier solution might be to move to another house with an already accessible shower.

Building Consent

If you are planning to install a wet shower area, you will need to get a building consent.

What if I don't qualify for the Government Aid?

If you don’t qualify for the Government Aid, then you will have to pay for the renovations yourself. Again, we recommend you get in touch with a bathroom renovation specialist, and once you have sorted out your bathroom layout then you can give our team a call to discuss about our accessible shower options. 

Newline Accessible Shower Options

Wet Areas

If you decide to go for a wet area shower, then we recommend you look at our Profinish™  Range, which offers generously sized pre-formed shower tile trays which can also be fully customised to fill your needs.

Shower Enclosures

If your mobility issue is not as severe, you might get away with a shower enclosure that is just more accessible than your current one. For example, a sliding door will be a better option rather than a pivot door that swings out open.  This is because sliding doors require less effort to open and close, and also take up less on floor space such as our Anita and Ravello+ shower enclosure ranges. 

Other Tips

While our main focus on this article was on how to make you shower accessible, here are 3-bathroom safety tips that you can use if you have or are experiencing mobility issues:

  1. Use a slip-resistant material mat, which will allow you to move around your bathroom with more security.
  2. Keep your toiletries nearby. Avoid having to go in and out of the shower, by keeping all of your needed toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soap all into one place.
  3. As simple as this sounds, check the water temperature before entering in the shower, as you don’t want a startle because the water is too hot or too cold, as this could potentially cause a fall.

Overall, making your shower accessible might be a complex project which requires planning and budgeting, and sometimes, even a consent, if you decide to go for a wet shower area.  Revisit the key points to consider before you decide to modify your bathroom, and if you do decide to go ahead with it – then give the Newline team a call on  0508 639 5463 and we can discuss a suitable and accessible shower enclosure option for you.  

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