A great deal of attention has been given in recent years to the problems of disabled people, both in public buildings and in the home. Particular problems occur where facilities have to be shared by disabled people and others, and this is often true when, for example, an elderly person shares a house with a younger family. As far as the bathroom is concerned, it is obviously sensible to provide for any types of disability that are likely to affect present and potential users, particularly in view of the hazards that exist in terms of slippery surfaces and so on. Elderly people are obviously the most likely users of the average domestic bathroom who can be considered as disabled. The very young provide other problems mentioned elsewhere.
Selwyn Goldsmith, in his book ‘Designing for the Disabled’, published by the RIBA, goes into considerable detail in discussing the problems associated with the old and the disabled and the way in which solutions to them can conflict with features desired by the young and the able-bodied. Should you need to make special arrangements for disabled users in a bathroom you should study his suggestions and those of the Disabled Living Foundation. Addresses are given in the back of this book. Briefly, however, the average age of the population is getting older and it seems only prudent to take this into account. Heights of equipment and cupboards, easily operated handles and taps, grab handles near baths and showers and handrails elsewhere are all things that should be provided.