If disabled bathrooms were just bathrooms…

If disabled bathrooms were just bathrooms…

In the past I have written about how difficult it is for some disabled people to find truly accessible toilets. If you are able-bodied, it is easy to forget how devastating this can be. If you are able-bodied, it is easy to forget that thousands of people rely on bathrooms and toilets with disabled access. It is also easy to forget that it could be you who needs disabled bathrooms one day.

I never expected to raise a child with special needs and it has made me think much more about the way we attempt to include those with disabilities in our society. For example, why aren’t all bathrooms designed to be more friendly for the elderly and those with disability problems?

Disabled Bathrooms

If you take a quick look at the beautiful bathrooms from bathing solutions, you can see that these bathrooms stylish and indistinguishable from any bathroom. There are just a few added extras that may make a disabled or elderly person’s life easier.

I dream of one day being able to afford a new bathroom that is beautifully designed and luxurious. But, until recently, I would not have thought that disabled bathrooms and the perfect bathrooms in my mind could ever be the one-and-the-same. Why not?

Accessible bathroom

Far too often, there is a stigma attached. There is the sense that the facilities and design in a more accessible bathroom must somehow be more cumbersome and less attractive than a conventional bathroom. This doesn’t have to be the case. If you have problems with mobility, you can still have a beautiful and comfortable bathroom. If I can ever afford a new bathroom I would love it to be like the ones pictured above. With an aging population, it makes even more sense that such facilities become more common place. We all have older relatives who would benefit from this too.

There is also the sense that these modifications are for a minority, that small allowances are enough, because their voices are few in a sea of many. Even the most inclusive of initiatives is still inclusion. We attempt to bring those who do not fit easily into a circle where the conventional majority operate.

If and when we become a truly inclusive society, the word inclusion will no longer be needed. One day, if we value progression, disabled bathrooms will just be bathrooms.

 

 

*This is a collaborative post. All words and opinions are my own*

5 Comments

  1. Hayley f
    22nd December 2016 / 9:07 pm

    great post.I am a wheelchair user and it would be lovely to have a bathroom the doesn’t look like it has disability written all over it.Sadly it all comes down to cost x

  2. 23rd December 2016 / 3:19 pm

    I would love a more accessible bathroom. I often struggle to sit in a bath but abducting my legs to climb into the bath to use the shower, can be excruciating at times but I do have a hideous looking NHS grab rail to help so I can’t complain too much. I sometimes have to be bathed by my Mum at 37 years old. I’d do anything for a pretty bathroom that would help when I’m in a flare

  3. A S,Edinburgh
    14th January 2017 / 2:11 pm

    Great article, thank you. I think all new properties should be accessible by default, with exceptions made only with good reason.

    It’s sad to realise that in the reasons for this not being the case, the space required probably comes a close second to prejudice. That culturally most people are conditioned to associate anything relating to disability with ugliness and negativity, often to the point where they don’t even know they’re doing it.

    And it’s so ridiculous when so much of disability-related design can be beautiful or cool, provided designers with knowledge and a positive attitude are doing the work.

    The example above is lovely.

  4. Clara King
    7th March 2017 / 10:10 am

    Does anyone have any experience with the walk in baths from Gainsborough? I’ve been thinking about getting one of theirs installed but could do with some advice.

  5. Isabel
    13th June 2017 / 3:00 pm

    I absolutely love this post. I think it’s so great to see such an incredibly healthy and positive attitude towards disabilities. After all, having a disability doesn’t mean that you should expect any less from a room, or compromise on your style or tastes. Posts like yours always make me feel so happy and optimistic about my own husband’s disability. One of the things he was actually most alarmed about originally, was the bathroom and his own independence. He didn’t want to have to rely on others too much, and still wanted to be able to bathe himself and such. I was originally sceptical of this and thought we’d have to go against his wishes and we’d have to install a load of hoists and things to help him get into the bath and shower. But nowadays that is certainly not the case. There are so many wonderful options these days from showers with seats to slide in baths – it really is absolutely amazing! There’s so many wonderful options out there nowadays, and it’s so great to read articles like this that show people that x

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