The following requirements are the minimum equipment specifications for elderly developments; they are also applicable for adoption for use by the handicapped. Each requirement is accompanied by locational and size parameters.
The Lavatory Batin Each bathroom or lavatory shall have a lavatory basin firmly supported to withstand pulling or leaning loads of up to 300 pounds. Vanity cabinets are not recommended as they require excessive stooping and leaning to be used. Vanity counter tops are desirable. Provision for storage should be made in wall-hung cabinetry where necessary.
Basins should be of the cantilever type, either wall-mounted on chair hangers or mounted in a vanity lop. An installation of this kind is more easily used by someone in a wheelchair. The most desirable mounting height for basins will provide a minimum dear dimension below the basin and/ or vanity top of 2 feet and 2 inches and place the top of the basin and/or counter 2 feet and 9 inches above the floor. Water taps on basins should be low profile with crass shaped or lever handles. Round knobs should not be used. (See Fig. 30a.)
The Water Clotet Each bathroom or lavatory shall have a water closet with a seat height of 17 inches (the elderly have difficulty with sealing and standing motions]. If users in wheelchairs are anticipated, the seat height should be 20 inches. Where economically feasible, the water closet should be of the wall-hung type for convenience in floor cleaning. (See Fig. 30b.) The toilet-paper holder should be located in front of or directly
at the side of Ihe water closet, in a position where leaning or twisting is not required to use it.
8ath and Shower The question of whether a bathtub or shower is more desirable has been debated at length. It has been fairly well established that showers are both cleaner and safer than bathtubs, ond showers seem to better meet the goal of extending the span of independent living for the elderly. Many elderly persons, how ever, enjoy and need the theropeutic benefits of a sitz bath. The situation could easily be resolved by providing both a shower and a bathtub in separate installations; however, this is not economically feasible, (t seems, therefore, that a cam-promise is required, that is, a specially manufactured tub/shower combination. This compromise is the recommended solution, although showers will be considered where central bathtubs are provided on each occupied floor (one tub for twenty dwelling units).
Bathtubs should have controls that are easily operated from outside of the tub without excessive leaning or stretching and should include an automatic mixing valve with an upper temperature limit of 120 degrees F. Tubs shall hove a flat bottom with a non-slip surface. Abrasive tapes and heavy, sharp textures should be avoided. The sides of the bathtub should not be higher than 15 inches ond the lengthwise dimension should not be less than 60 inches.
Where showers are provided instead of bath tubs [that is, where centralized bathtubs are available), they shall be of sufficient size to allow the bather to stand or sit outside of the area of the spray while soaping his |her| body. The shower enclosure should be equipped with a folding seal as sitting showers prolong independence for those who either require assistance in standing or who are completely infirm. As mentioned above, the shower head should be variable in height and preferably of the detachable type with a flexible head. The highest shower head position should not exceed 60 inches.
Shower controls should be easily reachable from outside the shower stall ond should include both an automatic mixing valve limiting the maximum water temperature at the head to 120 degrees F,, and a water temperature testing spout to be used by the bather before entering the shower. The soap dish and grab bar should be conveniently located 5t inches above the floor of the shower. Where technically feasible, the raised entrance curb should be eliminated. If glass t
Fig. 31 Bath i is used in the shower enclosure, it sholl be tern-pored for safety.
Soap dishes and similar attachments should be recessed. Water controls should be placed so that they ore not a hazard either in normal usoge or when the bather slips.
Bathtubs shall be equipped with shower heads. The shower head should be adjustable in height and, preferably, detachable with o flexible head. There should be several wall positions for the head to fix ft at various heights. Bathtubs shall be equipped with a detachable seat which allows the bather to shower sitting down. A grctb bar and soap dish, placed ot a high level obout 51 inches from the bottom of the tub will avoid the necessity to bend dawn for soap or to use the shower curtain for support when taking o shower, Gloss enclosures instead of shower curtains are not advisable as they further restrict getting in and out of the tub.
Grab Bart Grab bars ore generally overused and sometimes bear little relationship to the anatomy of the human body. If improperly located, they not only foil to serve the user but they can also became o haiard if someone should slipGrab bars should be used judiciously ond wherever possible located to serve more than one bathroom position. Bars should be approximately 1 inch in diameter, be capable of withstanding a pulling or hanging load of 300 pounds, ond be fixed to structure members rother than to wall finishes or materials. There should be ot least one grab bar ot the water closet and another in the bathtub or shower, lacoted and in the configuration shown in Fig. 31.
Storage and Mirror The preferred provision for storage needs is a large mirror behind the lavatory I not a medicine cabinet/mirror combination} ond a seporale storage unit, huilt into o wall, large enough to hold both medicine/toiletries and towels. The storage unit should be located so that reaching across counter fops is not required, tf towel storage is Located ex tern oily in a linen closet, the bathroom sholl hove a mirror behind the lavatory and a separate medicine cabinet which is convenient to the lavatory but placed so that excessive reaching is not required.
Electric Outlets A convenient duplex outlet shall be located adjacent to the mirror and lovotory approximately 6 inches above the height of Ihe lavatory and positioned so that reaching ocfoss the lavatory or counter top is not required.
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