By Anna Hazard
The final section of our series on accessibility and safety modifications for the bathroom focuses on ableware and daily aids that will be helpful in completing bathroom related tasks such as bathing & grooming.
While a few of the more general aids such as one-handed toothpaste dispensers or back-scrub shower brushes may be found at local stores, the bulk of these items may need to be purchased from specialty ableware stores. In addition, most of these tools are relatively inexpensive and small enough to be stored within the bathroom when not in use.
Shower & Bathing Aids - Seating & Organizers
In general, bath seating in either the shower or bathtub is a necessity for whenever the potential bather may need to rest or otherwise get off their feet (especially as raised seating is safer than forcing the user to try & stand up from the bottom of the bathing area).
For bathing areas that do not include built in or permanently attached seating, it's preferable that removable bath seats & benches should be fastened securely using suction cups for better stability. Bath lifts (automated chairs that rise and lower using remote controls) are another option especially for those who may have trouble rising from a seated position.
Other seating options include transfer benches which help the user enter the bathing area from a seated position (which can then double as a bath seat during use). This is particularly beneficial for showers with lips or ledges as well as bathtubs without doors or entry points. Transfer bench styles that slide & rotate are generally easier to use without requiring extra movement from the user.
Accessible bath caddies, shower shelves & organizers, and bathtub trays should be positioned so that they are easily reachable from the seating area. A convenient option for keeping bathing accessories organized and easily accessible would be using baskets (either directly built-in or attachable) on the bath benches and other removable seating present within the shower or bath tub.
Shower & Bathing Aids - Scrubbers, Brushes, & Basins
Other bathing ableware would include self wiping aids for ease of use while cleansing. These would include long handled scrubbers which are similar to backscratchers but with a loofah, sponge, or other similar material on its end meant for use with water & soap. These items can help people with a reduced range of motion to wash their back, lower extremities, and other harder-to-reach regions without having to contort or strain. They are available with straight or curved handles to better fit the exact needs of the user and can often be bought at general stores.
Similar long handled hair washing brushes are also available which can be used to massage the hair clean using nodules (instead of normal bristles or comb teeth) where shampoo can be added. Other bathing options include hands-free shower feet cleaners & scrubbers that bypass the need for the user to touch their feet & toes in order to clean them.
For those that are bedridden or who have more extreme mobility problems that make entering the bathing area more difficult or dangerous, there are a wide variety of shampoo & rinse basins for use while sitting or lying down. These would be used in hair washing situations similar to those found in salons & hair dressers and thus would require the use of an assistant.
Grooming Aids for the Hair & Nails
There are also a wide variety of grooming aids available, most of which are small enough to easily be stored within the bathroom vanity. These include long or bent handled brushes and combs for ease of use while managing one's hair. Styles with non-slip textured handles are best as well as curved handles being recommended for those with arthritic hands.
Hands-free hair dryer holders are also available for those who may have trouble either reaching around their head or holding up the weight of the dryer for an extended period.
For other hair care options, weighted cuffs and straps that slip around the hand to help improve grip, aim, and prevent droppage are available for use with both disposable and electric razors. And for more out of the way regions such as the legs, extension handles for razors can be used.
For those with arthritis or other hand dexterity or weakness issues, there are a variety of nail clippers meant for use by those with low hand strength. Weighted clippers on a solid base or automated clippers are particularly recommended for those users whose hands may shake or would otherwise have problems with aiming on a more minutial scale.
For more out-of-reach toenails, extra long handled nailclippers are available with the longest & more advanced varieties being similar to the pistol grip or button push of a long reach grabber.
Grooming Aids for the Teeth
Finally, when it comes to helpful aids to maintaining one's smile with a weakened or arthritic grasp, there are a variety of grip aids available for the toothbrush. This includes universal grips & cuffs meant for use with various utensils (including toothbrushes, pens, & eating implements) as well as grips specially tailored for toothbrush use.
Flossing aids are also available ranging from interdental brushes, inexpensive floss picks, water flossers, and re-usable aids specifically meant to help arthritis users with flossing.
For those with weakened grips, specific tube squeezing aids can be used with normal toothpaste tubes or one-handed or automated hands-free toothpaste dispensers can be installed instead (with the latter option being more expensive as well as requiring further maintenance of the installed dispenser).
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 54 - Quick Overview - Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Room
Part 55 - Quick Overview - Bedroom, Bathroom, Laundry Room