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Bertha's Home, Guthrie Center

Video Excerpts

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Well I don't know how old the house is. When I went to high school. From the fifth grade on I went up the street up here. It was relatively new at that time. And I said to the girls -- someday I'd like to live in that house over there. So, here I am. [We've lived here, I've lived here about 20 years now.] 
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Oh, I enclosed the east porch -- out there off the kitchen.. And I paneled this part of the room and this part was paneled. I paneled the, that bedroom in there. I haven't did anything with this room. And I paneled the back porch. Of course -- .. And I put new cupboards in . [Laid new rugs right away. Got rid of the red rug.] 
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I wouldn't change anything, the only thing I don't like about it is the bathroom off the kitchen.
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So what kind of changes do you want to make in the bathroom, or would you like to? Put a shower in. And there's a tub in there right now? (Nods head yes.)
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(Click images for larger views.) Small
view of Bertha in a chair

Floorplans with Remodeling Strategies
(Click images for larger views.)

Original Bathroom 

After looking at Guthrie county on a large scale, such as completing a windshield survey, analyzing the services available locally to the elderly, and seeing what housing options are available to the residents, there was a need for some practical applications. A theme that was reiterated time and time again was the desire for elderly people to remain in their homes. One of the problems we ran across was-how to accomplish this? Solutions for insuring independence was pivotal to this goal. By remodeling their homes with a few needed changes, it allows the elderly to accomplish this goal. For the purposes of this project, we remodeled an 88 year old female resident (Bertha) of Guthrie county’s bathroom. We will present three different versions of her bathroom, complete with a cost list, strengths and weaknesses, and a redesigned floor plan.

On one of our group session field trips we had the pleasure of meeting Bertha. She is an eighty-eight year old who was part of the Group in Guthrie Center. As she spoke of her home, she detailed her difficulty with her bathroom. It lacks a shower. She briefly mentioned a procedure for exiting the bathtub which involved being on her hands and knees. This is obviously not a routine that will serve her well into the future. Her bathroom needs a change, and we were obliged to visit her home to try to come up with some solutions to her problem.

The group was able to develop three broad ranging general strategies for a solution. Bertha had her own idea to install a shower and keep the tub which she is fond of. This idea is included as strategy two. The other two strategies fill in around this idea. Strategy one is more modest and less expensive. It involves no remodeling and focuses on inexpensive add on appliances. The third strategy involves less remodeling than the second, but involves purchasing many new fixtures and rearranging some plumbing. Unfortunately the strategies may be some what incomplete. We were unable to provide exact construction and plumbing costs. Also, we are limited by the modest monetary approach to this project. All of the following plans contain valuable ideas that can be implemented as presented or picked apart and combined. They are not meant to be concrete, but are meant to provide something to talk with Bertha about and build upon.

Original Bathroom
(Click images for larger views.)
Small picture of original floor
3-D View Small picutre of 3D original

Strategy One

Strategy one is the most modest. It aims to ease any financial burden while making showering easier for Bertha. The strategy involves adding a hand-held shower unit to the existing faucet, adding a seat that fits inside the tub or straddles it, and adding a shower curtain and rod. As with all plans swing away hinges are suggested for the doorway. This plan eases the burden of climbing in and out of the tub and provides a low cost shower.

Item Cost Source
hand-held shower $199 J.C. Penny
shower seat $80 J.C. Penny
shower rod and $55 J.C. Penny
curtain $30
swing away hinges $45 Stanley hardware
grab bars $17 - $20 J.C. Penny
Strategy One Floorplan
(Click images for larger views.)
Small picture of strategy one
3-D View Small picture of 3Dview of

Strategy Two

Strategy two caters to Bertha’s ideas. This plan tries to save the tub, add a real shower, while remaining modestly priced. The window is removed completely to accommodate a full shower above the existing tub. The knee-high wall that is at the head of the tub is to be built up to the ceiling and plumbing work is done to the add the shower head. A shower curtain and rod are added to finish. This plan necessitates the removal of the metal storage and vanity. Other possible accommodations could include lever type faucets in the sink and shower, lift off shower seat, and swing away hinges for the doorway. This plan gives Bertha her shower, allows her to keep her tub, and with the additional accommodations suggested, provides greater accessibility. However, it does not completely eliminate physical barriers like the awkwardly located sink and the tub itself, nor does it provide ample maneuvering space for a walker or wheelchair.

Item Cost Source
shower head $35 J.C. Penny
shower curtain and $20 Wal-Mart
rod $30
lever faucets $260-shower J.C. Penny
shower seat $80 J.C. Penny
swing away hinges $45 Stanley hardware catalog
grab bars $17 - $20 J.C. Penny


Strategy Two Floorplan
(Click images for larger views.)
Small picure of strategy two
3-D View Small picture of 3D view of

Strategy Three

The third strategy is more extensive. Cost is not given the highest consideration, but still some modesty was implemented. The original toilet is untouched as is the window. However, the tub, sink, metal storage, and vanity are all removed. They are replaced with a corner shower with seat, roll-in model if possible, and a new sink, with knee space and lever controls if possible. A new vanity mirror and towel bars, mounted at 36" to 48", would be possible after thoughts. The new bathroom would have many benefits. It would provide the most maneuvering space inside the bathroom for the possibility of using a walker or wheelchair, along with the option of a roll-in shower and roll-under sink. This plan also allows the window to be kept, an aesthetic consideration, and the original toilet to be kept. The obvious downfalls of this third revision are the cost and inconvenience during completion.

Item Cost Source
sink $160 J.C. Penny
corner shower w/seat $697 How to store
faucet w/levers $260-shower J.C. Penny
vanity $100 How to store
towel bars $20 How to store
swing away hinges $10 How to store
grab bars $38 How to store
Strategy Three Floorplan
(Click images for larger views.)
Small picture of floorplan of
3-D View Small picture of 3Dview of

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Contact: Mary Yearns

Revised: 12/03/98