Struggling to use the toilet? Top ‘tech’ to help you keep your dignity
None of us like to admit we are struggling to cope with daily life. We think it means we lose our independence, our choice, that our home will be “over-run” with equipment that looks institutional.
It’s particularly a worry regarding the toilet.
It is one area we are more than reluctant to discuss.
However, there are living aids that enable you to keep your dignity, to be hygienic. Some of them you’d even aspire to have in your home!
And the icing on the cake? You may not even have to spend a penny to ‘spend a penny’.
Getting on and off the WC
More people than you realise will often rely on the washbasin- if it is close enough- to give them support as they sit and stand.
However, it may not be the safest method, although requiring no alteration to the bathroom/ toilet. You need to be sure the basin and its fixings are strong enough to support the additional weight/ loading.
Grab rails or support arms are the “cheap and cheerful quick solution. Fixed or fold-away options are available.
They can be easily screwed into place on either or both sides of the WC. Again, care needs to be taken that the wall and fixings are strong enough.
Raised toilet seats
The toilet seat is actually the most frequently changed fixture, usually because people are struggling to lower themselves far enough to sit on their standard WC.
It does make it difficult for other members of the household to use the loo, especially if there is only one WC in the home. Some people may also feel a bit precarious when using it.
The toilet rise and recliner
Do you use a riser and recline chair in the lounge?
If so, chances are you could benefit from the toilet equivalent in the bathroom. You need the “mechanical” motion to help,
A toilet lifter fits over the WC. At the push of a button, it lowers and raises you as needed over the pan. It keep your feet on the floor, so you are safe and balanced.
The majority raise and tilt, so gently push you from a seated position to standing.
However, some people report the tilt motion makes them feel unstable. In that case, a vertical lift version may be more suitable, supposing you have the strength to then move yourself to the standing position.
See how they work, and differ, here:
Using the toilet
Can you manage to tear off the toilet tissue?
Can you manage to wipe yourself properly and effectively?
Again, “cheap and cheerful” alternatives exist, such as bottom wipers. You do need to have good fine motor skills to fit the toilet paper onto the arm, and then, of course, there’s the task of removing the used paper….
The ultimate alternative is to replace the conventional WC with a wash and dry toilet. In essence, it combines the WC, bidet and a dryer in one. Just ‘go’, push the operating mechanism, and the toilet cleans you. They are widely used in the Far East, so are becoming aspirational in the UK- indeed, one is even manufactured here, and (in various guises) has been for almost 60 years!
See how it works here:
There are some things to consider when choosing a wash and dry toilet, as everyone’s body is contoured, bladder and bowels move differently, Our handy guide gives you some “top tips”: https://www.closomat.co.uk/images/downloads/campaigner-resources/ClosomatWash%26Drytoilet-toptips.pdf
You don’t have to spend a penny to ‘spend a penny’
Anyone who meets specific criteria is entitled to a Government grant of up to £30,000 to adapt their home (https://www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants). It applies whether you own your own home, or live in rented accommodation (again, subject to certain provisos).
It is a mandatory fund, to make the “necessary and appropriate” adaptations to your home that are “reasonable and practical”.
You do not even need to see a healthcare professional. You can self-assess, if you feel capable, rather than rely on an Occupational Therapist or similar healthcare professional to appraise your needs.
And, you have the right to choose.
If, for example, a particular wash and dry WC is being suggested, if there is a different one of which you prefer the appearance and/or functionality, you have the right to ask for that one instead.
Try before you buy
You may not be physically writing the cheque, but you still want to be sure you can actually use the equipment, that it will help you.
Many Disabled Living Centres have equipment you can test. Wash and dry toilets can be found more widely: check out if there’s one you can try near you:
See what other people think…
“It’s the icing on the cake”
“Better than a throne”
“A brilliant idea”
That is how some people describe their decision to adapt their toilet to suit their changing needs- dealing with issues including IBS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, spinal injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, and numerous other conditions. You can read their stories here:
Closomat is the UK’s leading provider of equipment that delivers independent and hygienic toilet solutions. It was the first to introduce wash & dry toilets into the UK. Today it is the brand leader. It is also the only company in the sector to be based, and manufacture in the UK, and offer in-house nationwide sales and after-sales support.
Its website www.closomat.co.uk is now the ‘go to’ resource for assistive toilet technology. The website features a live chat facility so you can in real time ask any questions you may have. Or telephone 0161 969 1199.