For people with limited mobility, such as those confined to a wheelchair, safely entering and exiting bathroom spaces can be difficult and pose unique challenges.
Adaptive bathroom equipment can help seniors use traditional bathroom facilities. Some examples of adaptive bathroom equipment are grab bars, transfer benches, shower seats and walk in baths.
Many of these can be easily installed without overhauling your entire bathroom space. Most of them come in transportable or transferable styles. So you can take them with you when you travel, or tuck them out of the way if necessary for ease of movement through the space.
Things like retractable or removable shower heads and grab bars are readily available at your local bath supply store. They can be an easy way to make your bathroom more accessible. Additional items, like a bathroom wheelchair, commodes, and transfer seats are relatively easy to find at any accessibility supply store. These and can be easily wheeled out or stored away depending on the need. More permanent alterations to the bathroom space, such as walk-in baths or a wheelchair-accessible shower, can be installed by a professional team, and can make any home more accessible for an individual with mobility concerns.
While many of these items are considered simple, the presence of them can help return a measure of autonomy to people who are living mobility concerns.
Shower and Bath Options
Moving from a wheelchair to a shower or bath area can be incredibly difficult. It can pose unique challenges due to the possibility of slip and fall injuries. Installation of a simple grab bar on the outside of a shower or bath can help a person lower themselves down safely reducing the risk of slipping or falling. This feature is incredibly useful for people with a limited range of mobility who need a helping hand pulling themselves up from or lowering themselves down into the bath area.
Other adaptive bathroom equipment features that can help make your shower or bath area more accessible are transfer and shower chairs. Transfer chairs allow an individual to move themselves from one seating area to the other, and are often angled over the edge of a bathtub or shower.
Shower chairs come in the form of bench seats that are set up in a shower to allow an individual to sit comfortably while showering. These amenities are best paired with adjustable and extendable shower heads, as they allow the individual to easily reach all areas while bathing.
If you or your loved one finds themselves wheelchair-bound for any length of time, it may be worthwhile to invest in a wheelchair accessible shower or a walk-in bath. Walk-in baths are best for individuals who have some form of mobility, but may struggle with the up-and-down motion of sitting in to a low tub. The walk-in bathtub allows them to bathe at a raised height, thus removing some of the strain placed on them by raising and lowering themselves into the bathtub. A walk-in shower or a wheelchair accessible shower is best for individuals who are largely confined to a wheelchair, as it does not have any lip or edge that needs to be stepped over to enter the shower.
While each of these amenities seem simple and their own right, they can make a big difference in the life of someone with mobility concerns, and the presence of these features can return a level of autonomy to an individual who finds themselves wheelchair-bound. It can also make providing care much easier for caregivers, and help prevent injuries to both the individual who needs the assistance and the care provider.
Toilet Accessibility Options
For some people, transferring from a wheelchair to a toilet can be difficult or impossible due to their unique mobility concerns. In many cases, a bathroom wheelchair can be used for those who cannot make the transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet. For people who have slightly more mobility, but are unable to make it upstairs or across the house to the bathroom, a commode can be placed in their living space to make it easier for them to access the facilities.
Many of these adaptive bathroom equipment options are easy to transfer from one to room to another, or one space to another, making them ideal for travel situations. Since they do not require an extensive overhaul to the home or living space of the individual, they are fairly inexpensive to install, and can help an individual with mobility difficulties access bathroom facilities without adding undo stress to themselves. Features like the bathroom wheelchair, which has a commode installed direct the inside, can also be useful for individuals with incontinence issues, especially in a long-term care facility.
Here is a YouTube video explaining how to use a commode with a toilet for increased support:
Having these adaptive bathroom equipment can enormously help a person with mobility concerns access areas that other people take for granted. The ability to use the bathroom and shower without having to ask the aid of a caregiver or family member can allow those who are confined to a wheelchair or who have a limited range of mobility to live their lives on their own terms again. These devices can also aid a caregiver in helping an individual with mobility concerns without fear of injuring themselves or their wards.
If you are looking for ways to make your bathroom more accessible to people with limited mobility, it is best to research the wide range of adaptive bathroom equipment options to figure out what works best for your unique situation.