Jun 27

You may have seen one at the hospital or rehab facility and thought it was funny looking…and very hospital-ish. It is. But a Goose Neck Faucet Spout with Winged Handles is very practical in the home, as well as a medical facility.

Goose Neck Faucet Spout with Winged Handles

The separate hot and cold knobs on the sink are “winged” handles, so they can be pushed and pulled instead of turning. While great for people who suffer from arthritis, they are extremely functional as they can be turned on and off with a finger or elbow. This suits people with difficulty turning knobs or when hands are full holding other items.

The goose-neck spout has a high clearance and offers more space below than a standard faucet, making it easier to fill water bottles and inflatable bathing sinks for the bedroom.

It’s also ideal for cleaning urinal bottles in the bathroom and other items. Believe it or not, many people do these things in the kitchen sink because most bathroom fixtures don’t have as much clearance as in the kitchen. Why not keep everything in the bathroom where it belongs?

Because the bathroom becomes a central space for people with disabilities, installing grab bars and safety items is the first priority for making a bathroom more accessible. Don’t overlook accessories that make the bathroom more functional too. Items like Goose Neck Faucets with Winged Handles aid caregivers and the people they care for while making life just a little bit easier.

We usually try to use accessories for the home that are elegant and functional while staying away from items that scream “institutional” or look like they belong in a hospital. This is one of our exceptions because they perform so well.

The universal design and accessibility industry has a come a long way in the past decade with great looking, functional items for the bathroom. Many of today’s grab bars don’t even look like grab bars because they blend in as dual-purpose items. We hope that somebody will come up with faucet and handle options that are more elegant and functional as well in the near future.

For now, we’re relying on the winged handles and goose neck faucet to provide great functionality for the bathroom. You or your contractor can order these on our website at:
www.AccessibleConstruction.com/services/bathrooms/20

Dec 30

Aging-in-place has been a buzzword for some time now, especially when you consider that baby boomers are reaching the age of 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day. Accessible bathrooms are a popular place to start when modifying a home for accessibility and independent living.

One trend that is noticeable in new and modified homes is the addition of a walk-in or roll-in accessible shower. These are great for wheelchair users, but even for walking in, they are safer and easier to enter and exit.

Because the main barrier when entering a shower is the side of the tub or threshold enclosure, users must step over it, which can be difficult. Installing a zero-threshold entry removes this barrier.

While one potential problem has been solved, another one may have been created, and that is the problem of water spilling out of the shower and onto the bathroom floor. Without a shower threshold, there’s nothing to keep the water inside the shower.

The easiest way to correct this is by installing a Collapsible Shower Dam and using Weighted Shower Curtains. The shower dam fits over the threshold and the shower curtains hang tight and low against the shower dam. The shower dam is only an inch and a half high but it’s easy to walk over and keeps the water at bay.

A collapsible shower dam also works well for wheelchair users because it collapses when the wheels roll over it and then pops back up in place. This can eliminate the need to perform a transfer into the shower from the wheelchair to a shower bench or chair.

The trend to walk-in accessible showers is here to stay for many new and modified homes. They fit nicely from an aging-in-place perspective as they are attractive and functional, and they are easier to use by people of all ages and abilities. A collapsible shower dam should be standard on most barrier-free shower designs.

You can find information and purchase details here:
www.AccessibleConstruction.com/services/bathrooms/25

Sep 28

This year’s Medtrade Expo in Atlanta, Georgia will be held from October 25 to October 27, 2011.

Medtrade is the largest home medical equipment tradeshow in the US and provides an opportunity to review new products, network with industry manufacturers, and learn about the latest trends and practices that will help you better serve your patients.

Medtrade 2011

One of the highlights of the show is The Medtrade Accessible Home in partnership with Accessible Home Improvement of America and Nationwide Homes. The Accessible Home features the newest, most advanced home healthcare products and showcases them just like patients would use them in their own home.

Shower Body Dryer

Tornado Body Dryer

Accessible Construction is proud to be representing the Tornado Shower Body Dryer in this year’s Medtrade Accessible Home. The shower body dryer allows for hands-free drying which is ideal for people with balance problems, arthritis, need privacy from a caregiver or just like to have the latest gadget.

New for 2011 is the Retail Design Center which will display Homecare Products, and Home Modification Ideas, as well as Retail Design Ideas and Opportunities. The Retail Design Center offers solutions for your clients but also retail opportunities for new business.

Shower Dam and Weighted Shower Curtains

Shower Dam and Weighted Shower Curtains

We will have a collapsible Shower Dam and Weighted Shower Curtains on display in the Retail Design Center, which provide the ideal solution for keeping water in the shower and off the bathroom floor.

Offset Hinges

Offset Hinges

We will also have residential and commercial Offset Hinges on display that allow you to widen doorways by up to two inches just by replacing door hinges. What used to take a half-day of construction can now be done easily at a fraction of the cost.

If you’ll be in Atlanta this year for Medtrade, make sure you spend some time at the Medtrade Accessible Home and the Retail Design Center.

Medtrade 2011
Georgia World Congress Center
285 Andrew Young International Blvd.
Building B, Halls 1-3
Atlanta, GA 30313
www.Medtrade.com

Sep 21

One common fear for seniors and people with disabilities is getting burned by water that is too hot while taking a shower or running water in the sink. This is especially true for people with dementia or that have lost the feeling in their hands.

These LED lighting shower and faucet lights just might help save somebody from water burns. While we don’t sell these, we’ve seen them before and think they’re a great idea. You can get these at ThinkGeek and the price is pretty good.

LED Water Lights Prevent Burns

On the left is a lighted shower head and on the right is a lighted sink faucet. The lights are LEDs and change color depending on the temperature of the water. A blue light signifies the water is cold but if the water reaches a temperature of 89 degrees F (32 degrees C) the light changes to red.

Not only do these look great and add a touch of fun to taking a shower or doing the dishes, they’re fully functional and might keep a loved one from getting burned by hot water.

To find out more or purchase an LED lighted showerhead or faucet, visit ThinkGeek.

LED Showerhead Light

LED Sink Faucet Light

If you’re only concerned about water that is too hot and don’t need the colored lights for a visual aid, we have an anti-scald shower valve on our website.

Sep 14

The Remodeling Show will be held at Lakeside Center at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois from October 13 to October 15, 2011.

Remodeling Show 2011

If you’ve never been, the Remodeling Show features the latest products and offers a chance for home builders and remodelers a chance to speak with manufacturers’ technical experts and other remodeling professionals. It is the only national event serving residential remodeling experts.

You can get more information about the show on their website at: www.RemodelingShow.com

We’re very excited to be exhibiting at this year’s Remodeling Show. If you’re in Chicago, visit Accessible Construction in Booth #644.

We will have select accessible bathroom products on hand and discuss how a Collapsible Water Retainer for a shower threshold keeps water in the shower and off the bathroom floor.

Shower Threshold

We’ll have an example of Weighted Shower Curtains and you can see how they work with a water dam for keeping floors dry.

Weighted Shower Curtains

We’ll also have a Toilevator that raises an existing toilet 3.5 inches instead of buying a whole new toilet. Perfect for remodelers.

Toilevator

One of the most popular modifications for accessible home remodelers is widening doorways to create more entrance space or to accommodate wheelchairs.

An offset hinge is expandable and swings away giving an extra two inches to the width of the doorway.

offset hinge

There is also a commercial heavy-duty expandable hinge for garage doors or the front door of the home. We’ll have both types of expandable hinges on display.

expandable hinge

If you’re at the show, stop by and introduce yourself. This is a great show to meet new people where we can all help each other learn about the latest products and ideas for our industry.

Aug 30

Grab Bars are one of the most popular safety items for the bathroom. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations while adding form and function to one of the most popular rooms in the home. Here are 7 Grab Bar Installation Tips that we’ve discovered over the years.

There are two main areas of the bathroom where grab bars are necessary: the toilet area and the shower/bath area.

1. Whenever possible, position a grab bar within reach of the strongest side of the body. If the grab bar user has limited mobility in the left arm, a grab bar within reach of the right arm is preferred.

Grab Bar Installation

2. The grab bar installation height is important. The user should be comfortable with the position of the grab bar next to the toilet and in the shower. In the first photo, the toilet uses a Toilevator raised toilet base that adds 3.5 inches to the height of the toilet. If the grab bar is installed before raising the toilet, the grab bar height won’t be appropriate. Raise the toilet first and THEN install the grab bars.

The same is true for the grab bars in the shower. The second photo shows a shower bench that will be used for sitting in the shower. If at all possible, place the shower bench in the shower first and THEN position the grab bars to the best height for standing up and sitting down on the bench. This applies to any shower seats.

3. If the wall is too far away from the toilet, consider using Fold Down Grab Bars that attach to the wall behind the toilet. These come in various lengths and fold up and out of the way when not needed, such as performing wheelchair transfers. They fold down and into place when needed.

7 Grab Bar Installation Tips

4. Vertical Grab Bars provide support directly outside the shower. In the second photo the threshold has a collapsible shower water dam to keep water in the shower. A wheelchair user rolling over this could use the vertical grab bar to pull into the shower and over the shower dam. It also gives walking users something to hold onto while getting in and out of the shower. Wet surfaces are slippery so the safe transition from dry to wet floors is important.

5. Almost all grab bars meet ADA grab Bar specifications, meaning they are already the correct diameter and provide the proper distance from the wall when installed. But it’s important to ensure the wall they are attached to is strong enough to hold the user. The grab bar is strong enough but the installation of it into the wall might not be. Often, the wall needs to be reinforced before installation. Don’t just attach a grab bar and expect it to hold. Rely on experienced installers to do the job right.

6. Mixing horizontal, diagonal, and vertical grab bars provides the best safety measure and the most surface area for grabbing onto something sturdy.

7. A Portable Grab Bar, like a travel or suction cup grab bar, is a great way to test out the best position for your requirements. They attach temporarily with a suction cup and can be used to try out different heights and positions. This can save the time and expense of reinstalling grab bars that were positioned incorrectly.

Grab bars can be a great safety feature for the bathroom but a little pre-planning before the grab bar installation will ensure that they work as well as they should.

Aug 9

While there are many possible configurations and components that make up a Wheelchair Shower, here is an illustration of one way that shows a Shower Dam with other important products.

It’s also important to note that other people not in a wheelchair will probably use the shower but they may have some sort of handicap that can take advantage of many of the same products.

Shower Dam for a Wheelchair Shower

Beginning near the top of the photo is a Hand-Held Shower, which is easier to use from a seated position in a chair than a static showerhead that doesn’t move.

A Horizontal Grab Bar inside the shower provides support for pulling the wheelchair in and out of the shower and for turning around. It also provides support for a caregiver that may be helping.

Another Vertical Grab Bar is positioned outside the shower for the same reasons. Using both horizontal and vertical grab bars together is always a good idea whenever possible.

While the floor slopes inward to the drain from all sides, there is a chance that some of the water will spill out of the shower onto the bathroom floor. Water outside the shower can make tile floors slippery or carpeted floors wet and soggy.

To keep water inside the shower, a Collapsible Water Retainer Shower Dam at the shower threshold keeps water inside the shower. It collapses down when rolled over by a wheelchair then pops back up into place. This is an important component of a wheelchair shower. A Shower Dam can also used for walk-in showers to keep water in the shower, but some of them have a raised threshold that needs to be stepped over and is difficult to roll over in a wheelchair.

While the Shower Dam works great for keeping floor water in the shower, Weighted Shower Curtains make them complete by keeping water spray in the shower. These curtains have heavy weights in the bottom and they form a better seal against the Shower Dam. They are easier to use than a shower door for entering and exiting the shower in a wheelchair and better accommodate a caregiver.

A lot of wheelchair showers have a shower pan that is flush with the bathroom floor. In this case, the shower floor is an inch or two higher than the bathroom floor making it difficult to roll in. Lego Ramps were used to make the roll into the shower much easier. Lego Ramps are very lightweight and come in small sections that can be cut to fit or stacked on top of each other. They are very durable and have holes to help with water drainage.

Shower Dam

A close-up shot from the front better shows how the Shower Dam, Weighted Shower Curtains, and Lego Ramps work together.

As we stated, there are many products and combinations that can be used for making a shower wheelchair accessible. It’s important to assess the bathroom layout and the needs of the user(s). Knowing that so many products are available has made it easier and safer than it once was merely a decade ago.

Jul 25

Wheelchair showers provide access for wheelchair users to roll in and out of the shower but many times there isn’t much room in the bathroom. A two-wall wheelchair shower solves this problem by providing a wider opening for getting in and out of the shower.

wheelchair shower with collapsible shower dam, weighted shower curtain and folding grab bar

As you can see in the photo, this bathroom has limited space and a three-wall shower would make it difficult to enter. By using a weighted shower curtain that acts as the third wall, the corner can be used as an entrance.

The shower uses a collapsible water retainer for the threshold. Collapsible shower dams, as they’re sometimes called, provide for a no-threshold entrance and keeps water inside the shower instead of spilling out onto the bathroom floor.

This shower has a horizontal grab bar on the far wall and a folding grab bar at the entrance. This folds up and out of the way when entering or exiting the shower and folds down when needed inside the shower.

A hand-held shower head is mounted on the wall within easy reach for wheelchair users.

wheelchair shower with collapsible shower dam and weighted shower curtain

The overhead photo shows how the water retainer and shower curtain work together. The curtain is weighted and bumps up against the shower dam to keep water inside the shower. By replacing the third wall with the shower curtain it makes this shower usable with a wheelchair. Without this combination the toilet would be in the way and wouldn’t allow the wheelchair to pass.

When space is limited in the bathroom but wheelchair access is needed, consider a two-wall wheelchair shower. It creates space that you didn’t know you had and provides the accessibility needed for independent living.

Mar 15

A very simple, but often overlooked safety device for the bathroom is an Anti-Scald Shower Valve.

anti scald device for the shower

Installing an anti-scald device in the shower provides peace of mind for seniors that may have dementia problems as well as anybody with some form of paralysis that has lost feeling in any part of the body.

We prefer this lever-style model because of its attractive design and there are no knobs to turn.

We often install these for bathroom remodels that we perform but they can be installed at any time.

Order on our website at: www.accessibleconstruction.com/services/bathrooms

Feb 28

The Power Toilet Aid (PTA) Battery Operated Toilet Seat is a power toilet lift designed for individuals with musculo-skeletal or neuromuscular limitations due to disease or injury.

Power Toilet Aid Battery Operated Toilet Seat

The Power Toilet Aid can lift the user up 13-inches above the toilet reducing stress on the knees and hips.

www.accessibleconstruction.com/services/bathrooms/power-toilet-aid

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