Article - Privacy & Independence In The Bathroom
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Of all the daily activities people perform, toileting is one of the most difficult to discuss and by far the most private. "...it's the ultimate sign of dependency. Someone wiping your bottom," remarks Morrie Schwartz in the book "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom.
It's difficult to talk about, but being honest and open about hygiene problems in the bathroom is the first step toward regaining independence. For most people, once specific needs are clearly identified then you can consider potential solutions. There are a variety of products that may make it possible to maintain your privacy in the bathroom.
Sometimes all you need is a little support while sitting or standing.
Grab Bars are available in a large variety of lengths and styles. They can be placed behind the toilet to assist with transfers from a wheelchair or to provide something to hold onto as you approach the toilet. For next to the toilet, fold down grab bars are preferred if the bathroom is shared with others who do not need the support. Pull them down to use, push them up against the wall if you don't need them. The Invisia line of grab bars has a discreet grab bar for next to the toilet that holds toilet paper as well.
When installing grab bars, be sure that they are the appropriate length and diameter for your needs and that they are placed where they will offer the most support. Remember to follow all precautions about appropriate wall preparation. If the wall is not strong enough to support the weight, the grab bar will not provide the support you need. Find a professional to do the installation - for your own safety.
Toilet Safety Frames can aid as a guide for sitting and as a push-off point for rising, because they provide arm rests on either side of the toilet.Toilet Frames can be on the seat or have legs to the floor . For added stability, look for a model that is secured to the toilet with bolts.
The SuperPole is a tension pole that is secured between the floor and the ceiling and provides a full range of heights to hold onto while sitting or standing up. Unlike a grab bar, the SuperPole can be installed anywhere there is a floor and ceiling, including in the middle of a room, to provide support exactly where it is needed. By holding onto the pole at a comfortable level, you can use your arm strength for balance and support as you seat yourself on the toilet.
When ceilings are too high or cantilevered, there is also a floor-mounted pole, the Advantage Rail . It adjusts up to 32" in height and is secured to the floor for stability. This model features a pivoting and locking horizontal bar to provide additional support while transferring to and from the toilet.
Maybe the toilet needs to be higher?
For people who have trouble bending, raised toilet seats can add an additional height of two to five inches to the toilet seat. There are styles for both the standard toilet as well as the elongated style. Some seats are more portable than those that bolt onto the toilet.
The Toilevator is a spacer that is installed under the base of your toilet, adding 3.5 inches of additional height to any 14 or 15 inch toilet while still maintaining the appearance of your toilet.
Another alternative is the installation of a 17" high toilet, commonly called a "Comfort Toilet" which is several inches higher than the average commode (and ADA compliant).
For those with a limited range of motion in the upper extremities, cleansing the anal area can be a source of major difficulty.
The Bottom Buddy is designed like no other tissue holder, with a curved handle and rounded head specifically allowing the user to apply pressure to properly clean the anal area.
If this style doesn't suit your needs, Dynamic-Living.com offers several other styles of tissue holders with various curves and lengths.
Toileting is part of our day, every day. There's no need to be embarrassed when assessing your needs in the bathroom. Particularly if there's a way to help you to maintain your independence. If you are unsure, ask your occupational therapist or physician if some of these aids would be right for you.
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