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  • It’s a TP Holder, NOT a GRAB BAR!

    Aaron Murphy

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    Hey again, Aaron Murphy here at ForeverHome. So last time I was down at my folks place, I noticed that they had some drawings done to remodel their master bathroom, full fancy colored 3D drawings with lots of different angles and views, uh, done by a company out of Portland, Oregon that specializes in cabinets. And they were in charge of the full bath remodel. touting their in house design capabilities, and the cabinet company can afford to do that because they make their money on the product purchasing and the installation. What shocked me as an architect and a CAP certified aging and play specialist when I looked at the bathroom design for a couple of 70 year old baby boomers was a multitude of items that I actually didn't consider the future for my parents, and their expected wants and needs would be in the next decade or two. Now I know from having a conversation with my mother over a number of visits and occasions, and that's what happens when good designers ask the right questions, and ask enough questions to get to the truth. I found out she was pushing off the toilet paper holder to get off the toilet when she was using the water closet in her restroom. I cringed at that idea because I know what the toilet paper is held in the wall with. It's a couple of, you know, five eighths inch or three eighths inch screws. That's a makeshift solution, and in their case it's the side of the cabinet that it is bolted to, but also that is not a stud in a wall that could support that. And bathrooms is the place that most of our accidents are happening. Places with moisture and water, wet feet, and the toilet paper in this scenario is not a grab bar. It's not able to support anybody's weight. As a push off point from a toilet the way it's installed from a spec builder perspective. So, you know, my, my real issue at this point was that I went on to look at the drawings in a number of other ways that the cabinet folks had done. And finally I just said to my mom, Hey, give me five minutes and a red pen so that I never have to say I told you so, and you never have to tell your kid he was right. All I did was mark up the drawings for the designer to put blocking behind the walls in places where maybe later they'll realize they need grab bars, for example. And that five minutes allowed me to give the drawings back to my mom and say, okay, go ahead and tile your shower now, floor to ceiling. I also changed which direction the door swang so that it didn't swing in. Because when people fall in the bathroom, they are blocking the door. Um, there wasn't space for a pocket door, so I made the door swing out, even though that's not the norm for a spec built bathroom. At the end of the day, what I've done is save the EMT 90 seconds when they're trying to save your life by not having to take the door off. What I was able to do is let my mom know that this would give me some peace of mind. That allowed us to have a conversation that was built on trust and love, and we didn't have to tear out the bathroom that she loved later when she needed some additional help getting off the toilet or getting out of the shower. I did also design the bathroom to have a curbless shower. All those things are going to keep my parents safer. They're going to keep me sane and sleeping better, and it's because we had a conversation, and my mom trusted that I could help because I showed empathy, and I was interested in her best interests. And now I know that they can live a little longer at home. With their own safety and independence and autonomy. If you want to know more about what we do at Forever Home, please go to foreverhome

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