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Toileting aids

Toileting Aids Panel

Maintaining independence in the bathroom is an important aspect of living well at home. However, age-related changes like reduced mobility, limited dexterity, and balance problems can make using the toilet a challenge. This can lead to a reliance on others, a loss of confidence, and even an increased risk of falling.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Reduced mobility or weakness: Difficulty lowering yourself onto the toilet seat or standing up.

This can lead to increased fall risk, reliance on others for assistance, and the potential for injury.

Toilet seat risers: Raise the toilet seat height for easier sitting and standing. 

Grab bars: Provide sturdy support for manoeuvring on and off the toilet.

Limited dexterity: Difficulty manipulating buttons, zippers, or fasteners on clothing.

This can lead to frustration, dependence on others, and the potential for skin tears.

Dressing aids: Utilise zipper pulls, button hooks, and pull-up style clothing for easier dressing and undressing.

Balance problems: Increased risk of falls while using the toilet.

This can lead to feeling insecure and potentially experiencing falls.

Shower chairs: Offer a stable and secure alternative to a traditional toilet seat. 

Toilet safety frames: Provide additional support with grab bars on both sides.

Incontinence: Difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements.

This can lead to reduced social interaction, the potential for embarrassment, and discomfort.

Incontinence pads and liners: Absorb leaks and promote hygiene. 

Commodes: Portable toilets offer flexibility and can be used near your bed if needed.

 

Understanding common challenges

Here are some common issues that can make using the toilet difficult:

  • Reduced mobility or weakness: Lowering yourself onto a standard toilet seat or standing up can be challenging if you have limited mobility or weakness in your legs.
  • Limited dexterity: Manipulating buttons, zippers, or fasteners on clothing can be difficult for those with weakened hands or wrists.
  • Balance problems: Loss of balance can make navigating the bathroom and using the toilet dangerous.
  • Incontinence: Difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements can lead to embarrassment, discomfort, and social isolation.

Equipment and aids to help you use the toilet safely

These toilet aids can significantly enhance your comfort, safety, and independence when using the toilet:

Raising the seat

  • Toilet seat risers: These simple devices elevate the existing toilet seat to a more comfortable and accessible height, reducing the amount of bending required to sit and stand.
  • Commodes: These portable toilets can be placed near your bed or in another convenient location, providing flexibility, especially at night.

Support and stability

  • Grab bars: Installing grab bars strategically near the toilet and in the bathroom provides secure support for sitting down, standing up, and transferring safely.
  • Shower chairs: These sturdy chairs offer a stable and secure alternative to a traditional toilet seat, particularly if sitting for extended periods is difficult.
  • Toilet safety frames: These frames attach to the existing toilet seat, providing additional support with grab bars on either side.

Managing incontinence

  • Incontinence pads and liners: These absorbent products come in various absorbency levels to manage different levels of incontinence and promote hygiene.
  • Washable incontinence underwear: Reusable and discreet option for managing light to moderate incontinence.

Choosing the right toilet aids

When selecting toilet aids, consider your specific needs and limitations. Here are some additional tips:

  • Consult with an occupational therapist: An occupational therapist can assess your needs and recommend the most suitable toilet aids to help you maintain your independence.
  • Consider your bathroom layout: Ensure there's enough space to install grab bars or manoeuvre a shower chair safely.
  • Try before you buy: If possible, try out different toilet aids to find ones that are comfortable, provide the level of support you need, and fit your bathroom layout.
  • Focus on quality and durability: Invest in well-made toilet aids that can withstand regular use and ensure user safety.

Additional things to consider

  • Installation: Some toilet aids are easy to install, while others may require professional installation, especially grab bars.
  • Maintenance: Regularly clean and maintain your toilet aids according to the manufacturer's instructions for optimal functionality and hygiene.

Where to buy equipment to help you use the toilet safely

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.

 


 

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