Many people have mobility issues that make personal care difficult. Nerve degeneration, paralysis or problems born of the aging process each holds its own set of concerns that need to be addressed individually. The array of equipment available to assist with these issues is amazing; it requires research to find it all. Some implements are pretty standard for bathing and we will concentrate our attention on them.
One of the simplest methods you can use to make bath time easier for someone with mobility problems is to install a hand-held showerhead. Standing or seated, alone or bathing with the aid of an assistant people find that nothing directs the flow of water where it is needed most, better than a hand-held showerhead.
Grab bars are a major aid to anyone with mobility issues. The act of pulling their own bodyweight to a standing position or supporting their weight on the bar while they exit the tub encourages muscle strength. Make sure that the bars installed are institutional grade; stainless steel and they are mounted according to the manufactures instructions. Don’t make the mistake of installing a towel bar with the expectation that it is going to support the weight of an elder family member or someone who is mobility challenged. It won’t and the results could be painful and costly.
How the bars are installed and where will depend on the needs of the person, the plumbing layout and the bathtub or shower design. Please avoid the temptation to install a bar diagonally; a vertical or horizontal installation is always best. If the hand slips and footing is not secure a fall could ensue.
Bath tub seating can be as simple as a stool with suction cups on the feet setting inside the tub or a “bench” that sits half out of the tub and half in. The bather sits on the outside and slides across the bench to access the inside of the tub. There are also walk-in tubs with a door that seals shut for water retention. A favorite aid is the reclining lift-chair that eases the bather down into the water for a nice long soak.
For someone who has become mobility challenged many things that were routine become onerous and what used to be an everyday task becomes frustrating at best and sometimes completely overwhelming. The installation of well thought-out bath time aids will go a long way to make life a little easier for that person.