Monday, May 18th, 2015

Plumbing and Mobility Issues; Allied Can Help

A few years ago when my father was ill, the challenges of caring for an elderly person with mobility needs became painfully clear. My father chose to live in Florida, in a mobile home park during his declining years. While the sun and salt air did wonders for his spirits, his mobile home quickly became a dangerous trap for one with physical limitations.

Bidets, hand-held showers, hand rails, and more
During his illness, my father was committed to remaining at home; we were committed to helping him there. When it came time to assist with bathing and toileting, it quickly became clear we were under-prepared. In hindsight, with just a few improvements in the bathroom, we could have prevented much bruising to everyone’s dignity.

Replace a toilet with a bidet – For those with severe mobility issues or dehydrating illnesses, the simple act of wiping can be impossible to perform alone. According to eHow.com, “A bidet washes away feces and urine by directing a pressurized stream of water at the user’s perineal area. Washing [this] area with a bidet after each bathroom use allows both men and women to maintain a cleaner private area. The clean skin created by using a bidet is less likely to allow the growth of bacteria, which may lead to infection or irritation. Conversely, toilet paper is more likely to spread bacteria throughout the genital and rectal regions during wiping.”

Give thought to bathing – When a person is bedridden most of the day, bathing is difficult. Below are a few tips for a better bathing experience:

Handicap-accessible showers – The key is to eliminate the standard “curb” that exists on most household showers. Removal of the curb enables wheelchair bound or the very weak to enter the shower, safely.

Hand-held shower devices – Getting an mobility-challenged person into a shower (or tub) is only half the equation. Getting them clean, in a dignified manner, is the other half. Installing a hand-held shower device is an expensive approach to effective bathing and hair-washing.

Grab bars/transfer devices – According to YourSpecialNeedsSolutions.com, a proper tub or shower support structure is key. “A strategically placed transfer system such as a pole with a pivoting bar is an extremely useful fixture in a bathroom for a disabled person.” And for those of us who are older, but not mobility challenged, grab bars are an excellent fixture to have in a bathtub or shower. Grab bars provide a bit of extra stability needed when entering and exiting. Porcelain is slippery when wet, just like people.

Tub chairs – For an inexpensive way to quickly improve bath time safety, molded plastic tub chairs are a fast and easy approach.

Water controls/soap dishes – When people are bathing from a seated position, the entire bathing dynamic changes. In a typical shower, the location of the faucet and handles, soap dish and shampoo shelves are designed for standers, not sitters. Be aware that if the caregiver has to overly reach in order to access toiletries, it can create a potential slipping hazard for the one being bathed. Wet people are slippery people.

Walk-in bath tubs – For those planning ahead or making major bathroom renovations to accommodate mobility concerns, a walk-in bath tub has a side-entry door and low curb, enabling the bather to walk into the tub.

Water You Waiting For? Helping loved ones maintain independence and dignity throughout their life is an act of love and compassion. Ray’s team of experienced professionals can help you either design a new, ADA-compliant bathroom or make improvements to your existing one. Allied Reddi-Rooter works within your budget, goals, and timeframe. Call Ray today for a free estimate. 513-396-5300.