By Anna Hazard
This section of our aging in place & universal design series focuses on general accessibility and safety within the bathroom including various specialized aids for transport & movement. In addition, smaller handheld & portable ableware such as various toilet & commode related aids are discussed & recommended.
While a few of these aids (such as the recommended bathroom communication devices) can be found at more general retail stores, the more specialized aids will need to be purchased from shops that cater to ableware & daily aids for arthritis, seniors, as well as the disabled.
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous locations within the household with 80% of all falls occurring there as well as nearly 235,000 people visiting the emergency room each year in the USA due to injuries received while in this area. Thus, it's highly recommended that any potential users have an easy method of communicating and contacting help.
This could take the form of an intercom system that is sound activated or remote controlled or by installing a waterproof cordless phone within the bathroom situated so that it can be easily reached from the toilet, bathing area, or while prostrate on the floor. A permanent communication device in this area is especially needed as occupants are less likely to bring in mobile devices that may be damaged by water (and even waterpoof varieties may be forgotten & left outside at an inopportune moment).
When it comes to accessing the bathroom, a commode transport chair (also known as a bathroom wheelchair, rolling commode chair, shower wheelchair, or wheeled shower chair) can be used by those with more severe mobility issues within a bathroom that is too small or confined for normal wheelchair use. These chairs are smaller and more lightweight versions of wheelchairs that are waterproof and can also double as portable commodes.
Please note that, unlike normal wheelchairs which can be self-propelled (either electric or manual), these styles tend to need to be pushed manually from the back by an assistant. In addition, many options lack feet rests and not meant to travel for extended distances.
Besides the use of wheeled commode transport chairs, other portable bedside commode & toilet chair styles are available for those users who may otherwise have trouble easily accessing the toilet within the bathroom. Many of these commode styles can also pull double duty as an elevated toilet seat with grab bars for the normal toilet. Please keep in mind that portable commodes may require the presence of a caregiver in order to clean the structure after every use.
Normal urinals are another option for men, especially those with night incontinence or more severe mobility issues that make repeated trips to the bathroom more difficult. While rarer, female style urinals are also available.
Other common toilet aids include toilet paper holders and self-wiping aids for easier cleansing after using the toilet. These take the form of angled, long-handled tools in various styles that hold toilet papers, tissues, and other disposable wipes on their ends so that the user does not need to contort or bend as much in order to cleanse their urinary or anus region.
Bidets are another option for occupants who have trouble with self cleaning especially for those who may have trouble using normal toilet aids. They come either as an additional installations to a normal toilet seat & bowl or as a separate fixture for bathrooms large enough to contain them.
Otherwise, sitz bath equipment for treating conditions that become more prevalent with age (such as hemorrhoids or bowel problems) is also commonly used on the toilet or within the bathtub. This cleanses the perineum which is useful for treating itching or irritation within the genital region.
View the Rest of the Series
Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Exterior
Part 3 - Landscaping & Gardens
Part 4 - Patio, Porch, & Deck
Part 5 - Garage & Carports
Part 6 - Entrances, Exits, & Thresholds
Part 7 - Exterior Steps & Ramps
Part 8 - Threshold Lighting & Windows
Part 9 - Interior Doors & Halls
Part 10 - Interior Steps & Staircases
Part 11 - Interior Stairlifts
Part 12 - Interior Elevators
Part 13 - Interior Lighting
Part 14 - General Interior Flooring
Part 15 - Interior Flooring Comparisons
Part 16 - HVAC & Energy Efficiency
Part 17 - Power, Communications, & Other Interior Systems
Part 18 - Living Room
Part 19 - Kitchen Layout, HVAC, & Electrical Systems
Part 20 - Kitchen Lighting, Flooring, and Sink Faucets
Part 21 - Kitchen Countertops & Cabinets
Part 22 - Kitchen Refrigerators, Freezers, and Dishwashers
Part 23 - Kitchen Ovens, Ranges, Stovetops, and Cooktops
Part 24 - Kitchen Microwaves, Blenders, & Food Processors
Part 25 - Miscellaneous Kitchen Items
Part 26 - Dining Room Layout, Tables, & Other Furniture
Part 27 - Dining Room Flooring, Lighting, & Meal Serving Equipment
Part 28 - Bedroom Layout & Closets
Part 29 - Accessible Beds
Part 30 - Bedroom Furniture, Electronics, & Other Accessories
Part 31 - Bedroom Flooring
Part 32 - Bedroom Lighting
Part 33 - Bathroom General Layout
Part 34 - Bathroom General Tips for Showers & Tubs
Part 35 - Bathroom Accessible Tubs
Part 36 - Bathroom Accessible Showers
Part 37 - Bathroom Accessible Toilets
Part 38 - Bathroom Sinks & Vanities
Part 39 - Bathroom Cabinets & Shelving
Part 40 - Bathroom Grab Bars
Part 41 - Bathroom Flooring
Part 42 - Bathroom Lighting
Part 43 - Bathroom Ableware - Toilet Aids & General Accessibility
Part 44 - Bathroom Ableware - Shower, Bathing, & Grooming Aids
Part 45 - Laundry Room Location, Layout, & Spacing
Part 46 - Laundry Room Carts, Rolling Hampers, & Chutes
Part 47 - Laundry Room Dumbwaiters
Part 48 - Laundry Appliances (Washers & Dryers)
Part 49 - Laundry Room Cabinets, Shelving, & Countertops
Part 50 - Laundry Room Storage & Organization
Part 51 - Laundry Sinks, Lighting, & Flooring
Part 52 - Quick Overview - General Exterior
Part 53 - Quick Overview - General Interior
Part 53 - Quick Overview - Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Room
Part 54 - Quick Overview - Bedroom, Bathroom, Laundry Room