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Universal Design

Showers

Trading in your tub for a walk-in shower is easier than you think.

There are many people who can't recall the last time they took a bath. They don't plan on taking another one anytime soon, either.

These people aren't dirty. They don't smell bad. And they actually do wash each day. But they are not soakers. They are shower people. And, they're proud of it.

There is one problem, though. Most shower people still own bathtubs. Most of them still take showers in those bathtubs. And those bathtubs aren't always the safest places to be.

Are you a shower person? Does the rest of your family feel the same way? Then maybe it's time to get rid of that old bathtub once and for all.

Ready-to-Install Showers

Trading in your tub for a walk-in shower is easier than you think. Most bath stores sell showers that come in one ready-to-install unit. Buy one shower and you get everything you need. The shower walls and floor are already there. They are molded from one piece of fiberglass. All the plumbing fixtures are right where they should be. You just add the plumber.

Some of the newer shower models will fit in the space where your bathtub used to be. They even have a drain that lines up with the drain on your bathtub. This means your plumber won't have to move your pipes. Other shower models will need more space than your bathtub takes up now. A shower that is made for a person in a wheelchair will take up even more space.

Safety First

Shower units have a low lip that keeps water from running onto your floor. This low lip means that it's easier to get in and out of the shower. You don't have to step over a high wall like you do in a tub. That's easier on your legs. And it lowers your chances of falling or losing your balance. Roll-in models don't have a lip. That's so people in wheelchairs can get in and out easily. These showers have other devices that keep water off your floor.

You can fill your new shower unit with many tools that will help every family member stay safe. Grab bars are a must, of course. In addition, make sure your shower unit comes with a seat. This seat attaches securely to the wall of the shower. Pull the seat down and you can sit while you shower. Push the seat up against the wall and it will be out of the way if a family member wants to stand.

And don't forget to add a hand-held shower. This device looks like a regular shower head, but you hold it in your hand. It connects to your water supply with a long hose. You can use this shower to wash while you sit in your shower seat.

Fixing Up an Old Shower

Do you already have a shower in your bathroom? Fix it up to make it safer to use. Install grab bars. Add a shelf in an easy-to-reach place to hold shampoo and soap. Get a hand-held shower. And consider buying a seat that you can mount on the wall of the shower. Just be sure that you attach the shower seat to the wall

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