Toilet assistive devices for toileting – Keep independent with toilet aids
One topic that generally isn’t openly discussed is the ability to use the bathroom- and toilet and the use of toilet assistive devices. We might admit, for example, that a riser/recliner chair would be helpful, or that we struggle to grip and manipulate as required to peel vegetables. But apply that to the bathroom- would we admit we struggle to get on and off the WC, that we struggle to tear off toilet tissue, wipe our bottom?
If you DO struggle with toileting, don’t worry. You are not alone. Statistics show 2,750,000a households with a disabled person need a home adaptation and toilet assistive devices. Bathrooms are the most common form of home adaptation, with 20% of disabled people in private households using themb.
Hopefully the considerations below will give you some useful points that you may not otherwise have thought about…
Toilet assistive technology – Structural strength
When fitting toilet assistive devices, walls especially need to be strong enough to support the fixture eg washbasin, grab rail, and remain secure when your full weight is potentially pressing down on it. Modern stud walls need to be checked by a professional to ascertain suitability for wall-mounting of such fixtures. Alternatively choose a floor-standing variant.
And make sure your grab rails or support systems are comfortable, for your own safety and ease of use. Modern products are ergonomically and aesthetically designed, so can look smart as well as feel comfortable to use, rather than being solely functional.
Toilet aids – Adequate fall for drainage
This really only applies if you are replacing a bath with a shower, especially in a first floor bathroom. For longevity and suitability for potentially changing needs, go for a level access shower, or wetroom. But bear in mind the water needs to drain somewhere, and needs a gradient to do so effectively.
And if you are replacing a bath with a shower, think about:
- the power of the spray if sensitive skin is involved
- length of flex, especially if a shower seat may be needed now or in the future
- if a shower seat is/may be needed, where will it be fixed, and will it be free-standing, wall-mounted…
Toilet aids- Level access
if you use a walking frame or wheelchair, you’ll already know the frustration of overcoming even a tiny lip or variant in height between floor areas. So make the doorway level, and choose a level access shower so you can easily get in and out without any, or little, help.
Toilet aids- Colour and texture
Bright colours and ‘bobbly’ surfaces add aesthetic appeal but are really useful as our sight deteriorates! Beware, shiny/glossy tiles can reflect light and often cause glare, it is worth considering whether matt effect tiles are more appropriate.
Different colours can be used to define different areas, on the floors and/ or the walls.
Products with tactile features such as raised bumps, dimples or touch sensitive controls are also available to assist with the use of equipment such as shower controls, wash hand basins and or toilets. And there are some products on the market now that are also offering auditory guidance making toilet aids even easier to use!
Toileting – Room to manoeuvre
Once all the toilet assistive toileting technology equipment is in place, there needs to be space for moving round the room. Think about the doorway: it needs to be wide enough to get through. The door itself may impinge on available space to move around inside, but a conventional door could be replaced with a slider to give some valuable extra manoeuvring space.
If you are using, or going to be using, a frame of wheelchair, how will you ‘transfer’ from it to the WC, shower? Which way will be the most comfortable for you- left or right? If a shower seat is used, do check it will fit over the WC, as both vary in height! A toilet can usually be adjusted upwards by adding a plinth or two.
Plan it right, and toilet aids will help you remain independent, with privacy, for years, and be able to evolve as your needs change.
a 25% of households with a disabled person; 11million registered disabled people in the UK
b English Housing Survey 2012
Need more information
If you would like more information on toilet assistive devices, toileting and toilet aids, please speak to Clos-o-Mat who will be pleased to offer you some guidance.
tel: 0161 969 1199
This blog was written by Robin Tuffley from Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s biggest manufacturer of toilet assistive devices and toilet aids for elderly and disabled people.
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