Category Archives: bathroom

The Very Non-Traditional Roll-In Shower

Accessible showers; love them or hate him they are a fact of life if you can’t walk, but the good news – there are a lot of accessible showers to choose from. They vary on your mobility level, so you only have to install what you absolutely need. You can feel at our site the excitement of the game.

All some people need is a simple shower bench (lucky ducks), and then you have the folks like me who need a roll-in shower AND a special “waterproof wheelchair” (aka shower chairs). Who knew taking a shower could be so complicated? When I moved, I was without a shower for over one month. Oh what a wait (thank god from my interim bathtub).

Making the bathroom in my new place accessible shower-wise was a journey. Firstly, we decided to go the unique, lesser-taken route in the accessible shower world. Instead of doing a typical tiled roll-in shower, which can take weeks (and can cost a lot more), we installed a Corian custom roll-in shower from Innovative Solutions, a small company in Hastings, Minnesota.

While this company isn’t known for making accessible showers (their main source of business is custom kitchen counter tops), they will create and install an accessible shower stall to fit any dimensions, which my dad (who’s a plumber) knew from word of mouth; really beautiful stuff that costs less than $3000, and we needed some lesser requested dimensions as well.

Instead of the typical long and roomy roll-in shower, we went the less expensive route and decided to make the shower stall that was already in my bathroom accessible. This meant cutting out the floor, the walls, getting measurements and installing big pieces of Corian and a matching ramp. They also made sure the entire bottom of the shower was sloped towards the drain.

All in all, it’s a pretty brilliant setup. I would totally recommend this to other wheelers. There’s one thing to keep in mind however – my version can get pretty wet despite this special drain. Let’s just say I’ve become an expert at towel placement outside of the shower stall.

When you use a roll-in shower/shower chair combo to shower, you can usually guarantee the bathroom floor will always get soaked, but if you ask me a wet floor is a small price to pay for the blissfulness, not to mention cleanliness, a shower can bring.

It may not be as roomy as the shower in my old place, but I don’t mind. I have one and that’s all that matters. Nearly nothing can beat my 15 minute hot shower neck soaks. Roomy or tiny shower, it’s pure heaven.

What unique ways have you made a shower accessible?

Products Mentioned

­Innovative Surfaces

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC

Back to Bath: Taking a Bath Again After 8 Years

bathSomething amazing happened the other day – I took a bath after a 8 year hiatus.  This is a big deal when you’re paralyzed and so many things you used to love are no longer possible. And tubbing only possible because I recently moved and live in a place that has a jetted bathtub. Taking a bath was like walking again; almost.

What it feels like truly is that I’m reclaiming who I used to  be. I am without question a bath person, definitely not a roll-in shower person, so now that I’m back in a bath tub, all seems right with the world.  If only I could do this with everything else in my life, like walking.

The bath itself however was beyond divine even if my balance is truly horrible and being in the bathtub feels nothing like it used to be before my injury. The hot water, the jets and bubbles, they’re oh so good.

I did however anticipate that my balance would be an issue, so I found a local medical supply company that rents bath lifts.  I was going to buy one at first, and then I got smart realizing I may not like the lift. So I found this bath lift to rent – the Rio Invacare Bath Lift – and so far so good.

The remote itself is completely waterproof and the seat goes all the way to the bottom of the tub, lowering with a touch of the button The seat is great for helping me with balance.  It can be a bit tricky though getting into this lift.

After transferring me into my shower chair, my caregiver will park me alongside the bathtub, pivot transfer me down to the side of the tub, and then transfer over into the chair itself. A lot more steps, but the safety is more than worth it.

My only complaint is that the chair does not stay suctioned to the bottom of the tub as it’s designed to do, and lifts up when transferring out of it.  While it’s a good thing I’m not overweight, this kind of thing can get you dropped on the floor real quick.

Always make sure you have towels nearby, just in case, and make sure to stock up on a slough of tasty bath bombs.

How do you take a bath despite not being able to stand-up?

Products Mentioned

Rio Bath Lift from Home Access Products

Bath bombs from Lush

My Flossing Solution

I’ve had Cerebral Palsy for my entire life. One would think that by now there wouldn’t be any surprises left; however, every once and a while, I come across a new problem that needs a solution. Last week, I was at the dentist and received the news that I have a cavity. I brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush, and have not had a cavity in years. This one creeped in at the side of my tooth and is a direct result of not flossing. It is no secret that nobody likes to floss, but when you have the fine motor issues that come with Cerebral Palsy, this dreaded task becomes more than just annoying. I have been attempting to find a solution to the complicated process of flossing for most my life. Those little one-time use pick flossers are too small for me to grip and the handle flossers have replacement heads that are really difficult to remove and replace. I was lucky for a while, my electric toothbrush seemed to be doing the job. But this last appointment proved that the flossing problem was not going away; I was going to have to find a solution. I decided to try a Waterpik. I have seen them on display when I go to my dentist; not that they ever suggested one to me, but when I looked them up online, I found that most people like them. I decided to try it out and purchased the Cordless Plus Water Flosser. This flosser is cordless and rechargeable, so I can use it anywhere and don’t have to worry about the cord being too long, too short or having to wrap it up after each use. I charged it for 24 hours and then unplugged it. The manufacturer says it can remain plugged in to charge between uses, but user reviews said this ruins the rechargeability of the device. It is easy to fill with water and comes with 4 tips: two general use, one plaque seeker, and one for braces. They snap on easily and are removed by pushing a button; which is much easier than the standard handled flossers I have tried before. The stream of water is quite powerful, even on low; and it will make a bit of a mess, so make sure that you are leaning over the sink when you use it. Also, use warm water, I used cold the first time and it was a bit painful. So far it seems to be doing the job; my teeth do feel cleaner and it leaves my gums with a tingly feeling that it not unpleasant. Obviously, I won’t know whether this product really works until I go back to the dentist in November; but I feel like even if it is not the perfect solution, it is better than not flossing at all. Plus, shelling out $40 once beats multiple trips to the dentist any day.

No Tools Involved … Suction Grab Bar

When I fractured my hip it presented my children with a problem.  My small house had just one bathroom that consisted of a full tub with glass doors. Obviously this wasn’t going to work for an 80 year old woman just out of rehab and living alone !

Luckily my two sons are self employed in the remodeling and building industry.  So, while I was in the hospital, they removed the old tub unit and installed a walk-in shower that made it very easy for me.   At first I had a rubberized no-slip chair that I could sit on and with the use of the hand held shower extension  it worked very well.

As I grew stronger I realized I could stand to shower but we had forgotten about installing grab bars.  They were definitely a necessity but I rebelled against having them as permanent fixtures.  So I was relieved when the Physical Therapist who came twice a week suggested that I try the removable suction cup type. …and that’s what we did.

We bought two of them and they were installed straight from the package. It was very easy.  You just release the levers, put the bars where you want them, and push the levers in.  You can feel the suction taking hold as they adhere to the surface.

However, the PT guy warned me of one thing  (AND IT’S A BIG CONCERN)  You need to release the bars and re-suction them every month at least.  They will lose the gripping ability over time and the last thing any of us need to do is to grab hold and have the bar come loose from the wall.

Obviously grab bars permanently adhered to the wall are the best option for anyone with mobility or balance problems … but the suction ones were the answer for my immediate concern and I was very happy with the solution.

Scroll back to June 7th to see why my blogger-mate Peggy, below knee amputee, travels with one.

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

Blog entry by Ginnie, proud member of the UNlimiters team.

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