March 4, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
When you need a wheelchair to get around, there are certainly going to be some additional challenges when performing activities that once were routine and easy. There may be some things that are such a hassle to do that simply avoiding them is the easiest option. But then there are other tasks that are essential parts of one’s daily life, like dressing, washing, and going to the bathroom, that just can’t be omitted.
The bathroom can be particularly challenging. For starters, one needs to get in and out of the wheelchair. Bathrooms also typically have smooth, hard surfaces, and when water is added to the equation there can be some serious risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that close to 235,000 accidents occur in bathrooms each year. Fortunately, there is equipment that is readily available and can make these activities easier and safer. Here are a few bathroom safety products that can really make life much easier and less dangerous for someone in a wheelchair.
Moving from the wheelchair to the toilet or shower and back is not an easy task. Grab bars, sturdy metal bars, are among the most fundamental bathroom safety products. They’re durable, and provide additional stability by giving you something to grab and lean on. You can have them installed near the toilet, over the tub, or in the shower to make the whole process safer and less taxing.
If you’ve never been confined to a wheelchair, you might not consider getting in and out of the tub to be a challenge. But it can be just about impossible for the mobility-challenged to work with the setup of a traditional bathtub. Walk-in tubs make it easier and safer to enter and exit the bath. Safety features include hinged doors and safety handles. Sloped entries help keep water from running out, avoiding further risk from a wet bathroom floor.
Handheld Shower Heads
When moving around in the shower is difficult or impossible, it’s not going to be easy to get a good stream of water to all of one’s body parts. Having to reach for a traditional shower head to adjust the water flow is likely to be challenging and may be risky as well. With a handheld shower head, however, it becomes easy to wash and rinse even hard to reach areas. It also enables the shower to be used in a seated position, which can make a great difference to someone who can’t stand easily if at all.
For the mobility-challenged, standing while showering may be impossible. And if it’s not, it’s surely going to be dangerous. One of the first bathroom safety products you should invest in is a shower chair or bench so that you can wash while sitting. These are available in a number of varieties, including some that can be adjusted to different heights. An optimal seat should be selected according to your particular needs.
As we’ve discussed, moving around in the bathroom is likely to be both challenging and dangerous, and not everyone has the ability to use their arms to propel and lift themselves by grab bars, which also put additional strain on one’s shoulder and upper torso. There are numerous lifting devices available, including some that specifically facilitate the challenging task of getting one’s pants on and off. All of these facilitate movement in the bathroom that might otherwise be impossible or present hazards.