Ever had someone tell you about a great little trick they have for managing their chronic illness or disability, and you scold yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”? Well, if you’re looking for hints and tricks for making bathing and toileting easier, you’re in luck.
This quick-tip guide can serve as a helpful resource.
Forget continuously dropping slippery bars of soap or trying to handle slick bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Your solution to easier showering may be as simple as hanging toiletry dispensers under your shower head. Dispensers allow you to get the toiletries you need in your hand with the simple push of a button. No gripping, squeezing, or accidental dropping to worry about.
Avoiding falls or furniture collisions in your own home is dependent, in part, on being able to see where you are going. Oftentimes, funky wiring leaves light switches in the least expected places instead of right outside and inside the doorway. If your bathroom or hallway switches are notoriously hard to find, consider popping automatic night lights onto the walls that are triggered by movement. This will make it easier for you to find your way in the dark.
Removable Shower Heads
Having to continuously turn and twist under a fixed shower head to rinse off soap and shampoo may be difficult depending on your condition or illness. Removable shower heads offer you a little more flexibility in controlling the spray intensity and being able to sit and rinse yourself off without having to do the usual dance.
If getting in and out of your tub shower requires lots of leg lifting and uneasy balancing, you may be in the market for a transfer chair to simplify the process. In the same vein, if fatigue or weakness prevents you from being able to stand for prolonged periods in the shower, a chair to sit on is a must. When looking for the right bathing seat for yourself, remember to keep in mind the amount of totally flat surface your tub shower has for a chair to safely rest, as well as which way your shower head faces.
In addition to non-slip mats with suction cup bottoms, adhesive non-slip strips you place along the bath floor, or even non-slip spray you coat the shower floor with, can help provide more traction for your feet when bathing. For the tile floor outside of the shower, ditch the bulky rugs and carpets, and opt for non-skid kitchen mats that help absorb water and keep you in place.
Toilet Seat Risers
Anyone with mobility issues knows that sometimes sitting and standing can become the hardest movements to do. For bathroom use, assistive add-ons to your toilet can make it easier for you to use the bathroom by yourself. Toilet seat risers do just what their name says – raise the toilet seat higher so there is less bending required when sitting down. Side rails can also help provide added support for you to lean on when sitting and standing.
Sturdy, functional grab bars can assist people with disabilities, both by making getting in and out of the shower easier, as well as providing added support inside the shower or bath itself. Grab bars and shower rails come in a variety of lengths, shapes, widths, and sizes–you name it! Depending on the layout of your own bathroom and shower or tub, you will want to make sure you take measurements before purchasing to ensure you find products that will fit your space.
How to Upgrade the Bathroom
The idea of spending the money and finding the time and energy to upgrade your bathroom for your own health and safety may seem impossible. The good news is that many products like toilet seat risers, bath chairs, automated lighting, and removable shower heads can be found online, at your local drugstore, or in many home improvement stores–and often require little installation.
Managing a chronic illness in itself can gobble up its own hefty share of your income, so finding extra funds for bathroom upgrades may feel far-fetched. Luckily, there are a number of financial resources and grants available specifically for people with disabilities looking to make home modifications.
HomeAdvisor shares an extensive list of organizations who offer grants for people with disabilities and chronic diseases. They also recommend contacting local chapters and offices of national organizations to inquire about home modification assistance, i.e. Lions Club, Parkinson’s Foundation, and National Council of State Housing Agencies.
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