Alleviate problems associated with using the bathroom for someone with Parkinson’s Disease.

How To Improve The Bathing Experience For Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition marked by tremor, muscular rigidity and slow imprecise movement. It causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. Understandably this leads to normal day-to-day tasks becoming difficult, including use of the bathroom which can become problematic.

Whilst small and simple adaptations may resolve some difficulties, due to the progressive nature of Parkinson’s more substantial changes in the bathroom will be needed sooner or later. Absolute Mobility specialise in designing and installing bathrooms adapted for people with reduced mobility due to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions.

Some of the simple changes in the we recommend making to help those with Parkinson’s Disease when using the bathroom include:

  • Decant liquid soap and shampoo into pump dispensers. They can be easier to use than a bar of soap which needs to be gripped tightly and easier than flicking the lid off a bottle or unscrewing a cap.
  • Lay down an anti-slip mat in the bathtub to prevent slips or falls and place a shower stool in the shower to provide a stable platform to sit on. A seat with handrails will offer additional support when standing or sitting. Ensure the shower tray is strong enough to support the shower stool or seat as some flimsy shower trays have been known to break under the weight.
  • Sharp edges should be covered or removed. The risk of falling can be higher for a person with Parkinson’s so care should be taken to avoid sharp edges in the bathroom as well as the rest of the house. It may be necessary to remove and replace the object with the sharp edge, or cover the sharp edge with padding of some sort.
  • Grab rails should be installed to provide a firm hand hold around the bathroom. Place them around the bath or shower in places where the person will be entering and exiting the bath or shower. Never use taps or sinks as handholds as they are not designed for this purpose and may come loose over time.
  • Storage shelves are best placed between shoulder and knee height so the person does not have to bend or stretch too far to reach the items. The exact position will depend on the preference of the person using the bathroom.
  • Tremors and rigidity can make small items difficult to use. Replace manual grooming items with electric alternatives such as an electric toothbrush, electric razor and a free standing hair dryer. To make drying after a bath or shower easier consider an electric body dryer.
  • To make using the toilet easier place a free standing frame or support rails around the toilet. This will provide support when sitting or standing. A Toilet Riser will make getting on and off the toilet even easier as it works like a rise/recline chair. Alternatively a Bio Bidet will eliminate the need for toilet paper as it provides a wash and blow dry and eliminates the need to use toilet paper. For an all in one solution Closomat and Gerberit toilets might be considered but are more expensive options.
  • Door knobs should be removed and replaced with pull handles. The tremors associated with Parkinson’s make operating a door handle difficult and it is wise to replace them throughout the house. The bathroom bolt or lock should also be removed so that the room can be accessed easily in an emergency.

The above provide a few simple solutions that can help alleviate problems associated with using the bathroom. However, due to Parkinson’s progressive nature the time will come when a more serious adaptation will be required. In these cases Absolute Mobility recommends a level access shower or wet room adaptation for people with Parkinson’s.

If you’d like to discuss this kind of change to your bathroom, please feel free to speak to one of our advisers on 01491 411 041.

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