Elderly residents will be able to get easy-access wet floor showers installed and paid for by the city council in greater numbers if a six-month pilot programme is rolled out across Edinburgh.
Restrictions surrounding who is eligible for the showers will be relaxed under the scheme being trialled in Prestonfield housing estate, situated between Dalkeith Road and Peffermill Road.
Any tenant in the area aged over 65 whose safety is assessed as a moderate, substantial or critical risk will be eligible to have one of the showers installed rather than a standard bathroom at a cost of £6000.
The assessments would need to be carried out by a housing officer or occupational therapist.
A total of 47 tenants in Edinburgh living in ground-floor council properties are potentially eligible for the upgrade to their properties.
The move, which is expected to be approved at Tuesday’s health, wellbeing and housing committee meeting, is expected to cost the council up to £173,900.
City housing vice-convener Councillor Cammy Day said the scheme would be reviewed in June, with the possibility of making it available to all elderly council tenants in Edinburgh.
Regular cubicle showers only cost half as much the wet floor spaces to install.
The council has estimated that rolling out the programme city-wide would lead to an extra 86 wet floor showers being built each year at a total cost to the authority of £318,200.
Only tenants where the risk was classed as substantial or critical were eligible to get the new showers in the past.
Greens housing spokesman Cllr Steve Burgess, who put up the original motion urging the council to investigate expanding the programme, said the pilot scheme was “reasonable”, but should also include elderly residents rated a low risk.
Cllr Burgess said: “Whereas people may be low risk now, it could well be that they’ve got a high chance of becoming a greater risk later.”
About 20 per cent of Prestonfield residents are aged over 65 compared with the city average of 16 per cent.
Age Scotland spokesman Greg McCracken said: “It is vital we develop services that support people to remain at home and out of higher level services such as care homes or hospitals.”
GETTING INTO A LATHER
WET rooms are waterproofed spaces usually equipped with a walk-in shower.
The wet room itself becomes the shower enclosure, with a drain set into a gently sloped floor in place of a conventional shower tray.
A shower or bathroom in any house or apartment can be upgraded to create a wet room.
Benefits for those whose mobility is restricted include extra space and easy-level access for wheelchair users.
Wet rooms are billed as helping the elderly with independence and safety.