I’m worried about falling whilst going to the toilet, could you advise on some solutions?
The main reason for struggling to get on and off the toilet is a combination of joint pain and muscle weakness. This can be temporary after an operation or illness or permanent due to poor health or a disability.
Solutions can be quick and simple or more expensive.
Raising the seat height
Like any seating, adjusting the height can work to make the transfer from sitting to standing easier. The higher it is the easier it is, up to a point – the person must be able have both feet flat on the floor when sitting.
Having something to push up on
Having arms to push up on also makes it easier and so a toilet frame which can fit around the toilet is the best option as if the person has the use of both arms then this reduces the amount of weight carried by one side of the body. There are also some seats that have integrated arms.
An integrated seat and frame is often chosen and can work provided the moulded seat still enables the person to reach the parts they need to clean. Sometimes a separate frame and seat or frame and no extra seat is best.
This all depends on the amount of space around the toilet, the weight and range of movement of the person concerned.
If there is no room for a frame or the soil pipe is in the way and the person can pull up using one arm, then a grab rail can work as long as the wall is solid. Pulling yourself up on a sink or radiator is not safe.
Having an assessment from a trained person or Occupational Therapist can help to get the right option.
Maintaining personal care with restricted movement
For people with restricted range of movement who wish to avoid having carers a bidet toilet (sometimes called Japanese toilets) can allow them to remain independent as this has a built in bidet and dryer.
For people very limited strength to stand a motorised seat in conjunction with a bidet seat can work.
In some areas of the country these could possibly be funded on a special order from social services or with a disabled facilities grant as a means of providing independence from carers and reducing the risk of having falls.
Making it easier and safer for a person to go to the toilet may also encourage them to keep a healthy level of hydration and keep taking water tablets if they have been prescribed.
A bendable portable bottom wiper can also help keep a person independent when their shoulder range of movement or grip is reduced.
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