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DESIGNS FOR LIFE

Few of us accept our ageing and deterioration gracefully. We resist as long and hard as we can. Subconsciously, the reason is often because we don’t want fixtures and fittings that look institutional or clinical: their appearance alone reminds us of our frailty.

But fear not. Help is at hand. Living aids, that enable us to stay at home without care support, or to undertake daily activities in a residential care environment without support, are increasingly stylish, particularly in the bathroom.

Washbasins, toilets, shower seats, support systems:  all are becoming attractive and ergonomic. They are now aspirational, items you would want and choose to have in your home.

It is sensible, if planning any work in your bathroom, to think ahead, to ‘future-proof’ it. A recent ‘Which?” report made that very point, explaining that anticipation of future needs can make it easier and safer, and is likely to be a worthwhile investment in the longer term.

The report also recommends seeking the advice of a professional, such as a registered Occupational Therapist, first. They can suggest what aids may be of help. They may also be able to help identify whether you are eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant, which could cover some/all of the cost, but the choice of the actual fixtures will be largely down to the Authority. If you fund it yourself, you will be able to choose the make and model.

Bear in mind your future needs. A fixture may look stunning, but will you still be able to use it in a few months, or years? Can it be accessorised or easily adjusted to change and continue to accommodate your own needs?

Ian Westgate, 64, makes a point. He was relying more and more on his wife to help him, especially going to the WC. So he, as he puts it, ‘succumbed’ and bought a Closomat(*) wash dry aka automatic shower or smart toilet.

He says: “I made every excuse under the sun against having a shower toilet, but realised that I wanted to keep my dignity, safety and independence in this most private of functions. I was getting more and more worried about transferring to and from the toilet, about falling but didn’t want to rely on Clare to help me. And I was having problems with constipation. We looked at all the options in these ‘smart’ WCs, and when I realised I could have support arms added to the Closomat, it sealed my choice.”

Ian has his Closomat Palma Vita shower toilet with touch sensitive hand switch and a shower chair for over.

He adds, “I don’t use the switch and shower seat yet, but as my condition deteriorates, I will still be able to be safe and clean when I go to the toilet.”

(*) Note: Closomat was the first company to introduce shower toilets into the UK. Importantly it is the only one based in the UK, with its own team of support advisers and service engineers. Its Palma Vita is the only shower toilet that can be accessorised at the outset or retrospectively to accommodate changing requirements. The company supplies and installs stylish fittings to enable independent and dignified intimate hygiene, including shower toilets, fixed and height adjustable washbasins, and shower seats. Details can be found on its website www.clos-o-mat.com.

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