Giving Scotty showers had become a wet, unpleasant and complicated task for his aging parents in their home in Kent, Ohio.
While his family had cared for Scotty, who has Down’s Syndrome, it became more difficult as he grew older. By age 48, Scotty was experiencing dementia, making communication more difficult. He started having seizures, causing him to lose control and adding the risk of suffering injuries from falls. After each bout of seizures, Scotty had to relearn how to walk, a two-week process that relegated him to a wheelchair much of the time.
Showering was a particularly dangerous part of Scotty’s day. While his parents and siblings took turns assisting him, their home’s tiny shower forced family members to stand inside while bathing a sitting and often stubborn Scotty. By the end of it, they wound up taking showers, too.
“Whoever was doing that duty was getting wet and everything else,” said Mike McNeil, Scotty’s brother. “After he started having seizures, he was increasingly uncooperative, so it was increasingly tough to do.”
The family turned to JTEK Solutions Group, a company specializing in aging-in-place home remodels, to improve living conditions for Scotty, and in turn, make life easier for the family.
The shower had to go. JTEK tore out the original and replaced it with a five-foot-wide shower premade by Bestbath®, doubling the space. The previous shower had a tall lip, meaning family members had to sometimes hoist Scotty over and onto a built-in-bench in the shower, a strenuous and dangerous endeavor for all involved.
The Bestbath bathing unit has a lip only three-quarters of an inch tall, allowing family members to easily wheel Scotty into the shower. When he’s agreeable, they coax him to the shower’s built-in bench, which folds against the wall. If he’s not agreeable, family members use the hand-held sprayer head to safetly bathe him in his wheelchair with a fraction of the difficulty and without needing to towel off afterward.
A Bestbath trench drain collects water at the lip of the shower, preventing it from pooling and running on to the bathroom floor. Unlike other products on the market, the Bestbath trench drain has a sleek design and secures in place with magnets, making it easy to access and clean the tray underneath.
“Absolutely, things are easier for everybody now,” McNeil said.
Jared Chevraux, JTEK vice president of operations, said Bestbath’s trench drain has become one of his most popular shower products. And because Bestbath’s composite showers are reinforced with wood, they allow builders or remodelers like JTEK to install benches, grab bars, shower heads and other accessories anywhere in the unit, or even to relocate the accessories as a customer’s needs change.
“That’s a huge improvement,” he said. “We can make changes, whereas with an acrylic unit, we’d have to rip the whole thing out or use specialty devices or only install on the studs.”
Scotty’s parents were initially reluctant to remodel their bathroom, McNeil said, because they feared it would lower their home’s resale value.
They were swayed after JTEK employees showed them the Bestbath products. The pre-made Bestbath shower was more affordable than a traditional tile-and-grout shower, he said. The family was also impressed by the clean and attractive design of the barrier-free shower and its fixtures, including the trench drain. As for any budget concerns? McNeil said the JTEK quote was for far less than the family expected.
“A decade ago, before the ready-to-go units that Bestbath manufactures were available, this would have been a more expensive project, probably outside of the budget,” Chevraux said.
JTEK started working with Bestbath to deliver shower accessibility solutions six years ago. JTEK’s customers like the look of Bestbath products, including their options for tile inlays and colors as well as nickel, bronze, satin and many other finishes. Those are welcome changes from the cold and institutional feel of stainless steel products from other manufacturers, Chevraux said.
“Nobody wants their home to feel like a nursing home or a hospital,” he said. “We’ll remodel your home to your style. We’ll meet your needs, and it won’t look like a ‘handicap-accessible’ bathroom.”
By working closely with both their client and Bestbath, JTEK created a bathroom that made everyone happy. Scotty is safer. His family is assisting him with less hassle and risk of slips. And his parents are resting easy that they could afford the remodel and even add value to their home.
And for JTEK? The satisfaction of helping the McNeil family and the opportunity to help hundreds more like them with the help of Bestbath, provides a strong sense of optimism about the future.
“Bestbath is very affordable for their quality. They install faster,” Chevraux explains. “That makes our lives easier.”Download the Case Study