Who knew navigating a bathroom could be so frustrating and potentially unsafe. Well, I did, at least I thought so until I had my own experiences in 2017 and into 2018. Below, I outline the challenges and solutions I found, even if it was a little later than I needed. Keep in mind I was a fall risk due to balance, coordination and strength issues. I also struggled, significantly, to rise.
The safety here was my fear of tooth decay, in addition simply to wanting to feel better after brushing. However, I had a hard time holding and controlling my toothbrush. I needed a bigger handle and something to help me do a better job of the brushing process. I found this in Dr. Plotka’s travel toothbrush to be my new best friend because its silver flossing bristles helped me keep my teeth clean and the bigger handle helped me actually be able to attempt to brush my own teeth. As my health improved and my hand strength and coordination improved, I switched over to the regular toothbrush and its chunky handle.
Even though I wanted to soak my aching muscles in a bath and feared falling while standing in a shower, I simply could not safely get to a standing position after a bath. The paralysis of my lower legs and feet combined with my lack of strength made me fear falling in the tub, as well. Although I tried holding onto everything, nothing helped. Perhaps a grab bar would have helped, but I simply switched to showering, especially since lifting my feet to get into a bath was also a challenge and I have a walk in shower.
The first think I did was purchase an anti-slip bath/shower mat at Ross.
Just like brushing my teeth, washing my hair was also a challenge. In addition, I had to hold onto the shower wall, especially when closing my eyes. I didn’t realize there were suction cup safety bars until after my condition began to improved. Had I know, I would have gotten one.
I also found Palmer’s Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner which allowed me to pump the product into my hand (I couldn’t lift bottles) and wash it out of my thick hair without worrying about getting all of the suds out.
A wet washcloth was too heavy and I was likely to drop it, creating the risk of a fall if I tried to bend down to pick it up. So, I used exfoliating bath gloves to wash, instead.
Any top… to moisturizer, toothpaste, supplements/medication was impossible for me to open without help from my family. I finally found a foam jar opener and left it in the bathroom so I could open the tops myself.
Whether it is up and over the side of a bathtub or up from a toilet, I needed something to hold on and pull or push myself up. The only help I had came from my husband and the toilet paper holder – which surprisingly held up. But, there are grab bars and poles available to help those with long term needs; or for when you are alone.
The reason why I share all of this personal information is because when I needed solutions to my functional limitations and challenges, I was laser focused on the task at hand and then getting to a safe place to rest from the fatigue of the effort. The solutions I did use, were things I had already seen or knew about. It wasn’t until I began to improve and I had plenty of time sitting on my sofa with my feet up and my laptop that I really started looking for tools that could help those facing similar situations.