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My mother is 93 in wheelchair with limited eyesight. The bathroom she uses has shower doors right next to toilet. The shower doors have been in 8 years and now need adjusting. I am thinking of replacing with rod and curtain. It is a step in shower no tub. My friend says to fix doors as if she grabs curtain she will fall. I am afraid she will fall thru doors. Any advice on how to make it safer for her?

grab bars -plenty of them-
hand held shower wand - helps when being bathed and self cleaning
shower stool - non slip with handles
movement sensor lighting (if possible ) for bathroom so she can see and turns on automatically when she walks in- from experience they don't always turn on the light when using bathroom
nothing to trip on in bathroom

My mom was allowed an Occupational Therapist consultation we were given heaps of tips for safety -we accommodated as many as we could and the bathroom was much safer - sometimes the recommendations were to make the doorways and rooms bigger so be prepared for that if you get an Occ assessment but there are many other accommodations that can be made right away and inexpensively that will help relieve a lot of the hazzards -
I think the bathroom is where most falls happen so you are smart to focus on that area of the house
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Reply to LuluRoxy
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Make sure you have plenty of grab bars in place! I am disabled and depend greatly on my grab bars. I have worked on 2 bathrooms for my mom in 2 different areas of facilities (AL and MC). Neither had enough grab bars. Make sure they are securely screwed into the wall not the kind with suction cups. No matter where she is in the bathroom or what she’s doing she should be able to reach a grab bar. Make sure the one located in the shower is on an angle (More accessible). Try it yourself. You should not be able to take one step w/o being able to reach a bar. Make sure she can easily get on and off the toilet with grab bars.If the bars are properly placed you shouldn’t have to worry about her grabbing on to anything else. I agree with you on the shower curtain idea. Better safe than sorry!
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Reply to Nanababies
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My strong preference is for wet rooms - bathrooms where the floor and walls have been made altogether waterproof so that there's no need for any barriers around the shower at all, and no step to trip over either, and even better the aide/support worker/family member can be present throughout to give any assistance the person requires (e.g. picking up that dropped soap!).

Of course I don't know what your budget is or how much work would be needed to adapt your mother's bathroom; but based on the number of social housing homes I see that do have wet rooms I can't imagine it's a hugely expensive project. Why not look into it?

Well positioned, properly fitted grab rails and a shower chair are also extremely important, I agree.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Imho, a few considerations for an elder with low vision are as follows:
#1 Shower chair/seat
#2 Grab bars
#3 A shower curtain is a big NO
#4 Hand held wand in shower
#5 Suggest one-step body wash bottle in lieu of bar of soap as elder could drop the slippery bar of soap.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Grab bars on the wall if she needs to "walk in" to sit on a shower chair. Also a handheld shower is so much easier to clean with than the overhead showerhead. Make sure she has non-slip flooring that can handle some water. It would be best to NOT have a floor mat (tripping hazard). If you can afford it, a heat lamp helps to keep the bathroom warmer when folks get out of the shower/tub.

FYI, my grandmother once lost her balance in the bathroom and fell against mirrored closet doors. They shattered. Luckily, she did not get cut. That could happen with less expensive glass doors.
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Reply to Taarna
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LoopyLoo Jul 15, 2020
Glass has nothing to do with cost. As I mentioned somewhere here already, it is the law in the US that any shower glass (or any doors with glass) must be tempered. This means it's been heat treated. It can still break if you hit it hard enough, but the entire pane will shatter immediately into tiny little pieces. Yes cuts are still a risk, but it is much safer than it breaking into huge chunks that could critically injure someone. Back in the 60s and 70s there were documented accidents where small kids would run into glass doors at home, the glass would break, and the large pieces cut into them. Several kids died. It made sense to find a way to make glass breaks less dangerous.

Mirrors cannot be tempered and thus can break into dangerous large pieces. I've worked in the construction industry for over two decades, have seen breaks of both tempered and not. No manufacturer would skip the law and not have tempered glass in a shower or normal door... they would be sued to Hell and back.
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I absolutely agree with using a good shower chair over anything that comes as part of a shower unit, those things are too small, too slippery and do not accommodate different heights. And looking ahead - curtains are much easier for a caregiver to work around if she needs assistance.
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Reply to cwillie
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I had a accessible walk-in shower installed for my mother.We took down the glass shower doors and replaced it with a shower curtain, grab bars surrounding shower. Shower chair on wall would not recommend. Broke off wall one day, thank God my mother was not on the chair. I bought a pivot shower chair that is heavy duty. I am happy with the shower curtain, feel it is safer, easy to shower my mother with the hand held. Good luck!
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Reply to earlybird
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I moved into a senior community 4 years ago and I too have a step in shower with curtain. I was considering have the curtain replaced with glass doors, due to having a dog which I have to bathe every month or two and it has been a hassle. The neighborhood gals get together every so often and I happened to bring up this topic about replacing curtain with doors and it so happens a lot of them have curtains and would not trade them for doors and the other are thinking of ridding of their doors to curtains. They said the doors are a pain to keep clean and streak free, plus a couple gals said they have almost fell into the doors and that really scared them incase the glass broke. For me, I really do like the shower curtain, it brings color into my bathroom. I had a grab bar installed lower so I could tie a short leash to it to keep my dog in the shower and a shower head with an extra long hose with pause on the shower head and this works out wonderfully.
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Reply to Sandyinstl
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My dad's IL and AL both had shower curtains and plenty of grab bars. Much safer!
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Reply to Harpcat
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My sister fell grabbing the shower curtain ribs punctured lungs. I have curtain but I have two really strong handicapped bars to help inside and outside to help get back in wheelchair. Also use a heavy duty shower chair. My opinion is get the doors fixed and install bars. Also Amazon has a roll of non skid tape to completely stripe bottom of shower or/ and tub that’s easy to put down. Doors would be safer if repaired.
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Reply to Bumblebee
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I am 74 years old and recently faced a similar problem. I replaced a tub with a walk in shower. I chose a curtain instead of doors. The key thing is to install grab bars strategically placed so you can hold on to a grab bar while you push the curtain aside and step in and out. This is a key safety measure. There is no need to grab the curtain. Hold onto the bar and push the curtain aside to step out. I love my new shower and feel very safe.
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Reply to doctorel46
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cherokeewaha Jul 16, 2020
We are needing to redo our bath from tall clawfoot original tub to step in shower. We only have one bathroom and I have IBSD. So far all the estimates are saying no bathroom for up to 2 weeks. I know the sink and toilet will have to come out due to placement.

How long did it take to get yours fixed? And did you use a local contractor or see it advertised on TV?
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Actually shower door bars are for towels.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Sendhelp Jul 15, 2020
That is right JoAnn. That would not hold someone up.

A real grab bar for safety purposes should be installed by a professional. So as not to get confused and grab the shower door towel bars, a shower curtain would make sense.
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By law, shower doors (and any glass used in doors) has to be tempered. What that means is: the glass has been heat-treated, so if it breaks, it will shatter into small pieces. Much safer than big chunks!

But a shower curtain sounds like a better option. As mentioned already, people think the bars on them can support being pulled on to stand up, which they cannot.
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Reply to LoopyLoo
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I agree with Willie on the Curtains. I agree with a shower chair and a handheld shower head. My Moms shower had a grab bar entering and one on the level she was when sitting down. I did want too many shelves or too many bars in case she did fall.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Frebrowser Jul 12, 2020
I too agree on the curtain rather than doors. The chair and handheld are excellent options too.

If the bathroom has a regular flat ceiling, you could consider a Stander Curve security pole which is a tension pole mount so you have different placement options.

A remodel with real grab bars and an accessible shower would be better, but ...
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doors will be held onto for support so they do pose a problem.
I would opt for the curtain. (get one of the rods that has a curve to it so there is more room.) BUT..I would get a shower bench so that she can transfer from the chair to the bench and not have to stand. Stepping into a tub is dangerous and getting out more so since you would be wet and slippery.
If it is at all possible look into getting the tub changed to a Zero entrance shower so she can use a shower wheelchair and roll right into the shower.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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When I researched this curtains were recommended over doors because people do trust those doors as though they can support their weight and they can not - go with a curtain and add in real grab bars where possible. If there is no handy wall you can buy something like the superpole that is fastened floor to ceiling (this is what I used) as well as toilet attachments..
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Reply to cwillie
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