29 May 2014
Bathing is admittedly one of the most troublesome tasks for the elderly. Even without any psychical or mental illnesses / disabilities, as we age we simply struggle to getting in and out of the bath due to the amount of upper body strength required to pull and lever ourselves out of the water.
What was once an enjoyable experience soon becomes a troublesome task with major safety flaws and unnecessary risks. In fact one recent study in the US claimed that, on average, 370 people injury themselves every single day whilst using the home bathroom, 63% of which are over the age of 64, with most bathing related accidents being a result of the “psychical & mental stress” experienced at the time. http://idea.ap.buffalo.edu/publications/Bathing%20for%20Older%20People.htm
The study claimed that without additional safety features, assistance or bathing adaptations / aides, elderly people can and will deteriorate quicker due to a putting excess strain on themselves. This then leads to a severe lack in confidence and undoubtedly a willingness to bathe resulting in the stress at the centre of the most accidents mentioned above.
So why do these people continue to struggle and put themselves at unnecessary risk?
According to the above study there are several reasons why elderly people make no environmental changes to make their daily lives and bathing experience easier and safer:
1. During their early phase of functional decline, they simply make behavioural changes in the way they bathe, hoping that this will compensate for the lack of safety.
2. The majority of them live on fixed incomes, retrofitting the bathroom is an economic burden they are unable to bear.
3. Even when many individuals are willing to make modifications, the condition and layout of the buildings they live in do not lend themselves as to make bathroom modifications.
4. They are generally uninformed about the type of technical assistance they need and where to look for it.
5. They see modifications as an acknowledgment of their own disabilities and they are embarrassed by it.
Dave White, MoreAbility*, public (council & contact) and private (domestic) bathroom surveyor, makes comment on the above:
“The results of the study are quite accurate. I often find when I am out and about surveying homes or assisting people in our showroom I get asked the same questions time after time, questions uncannily similar to the above and my response is always as follows:
1. People do make behavioural changes however this can only be for so long until they are putting themselves at great risk.
2. The price and affordability of these products do and can put people off however we live in a modern world where the government put allocate resources and contribute to those that need it – for example disabled facilities grants & VAT exempt.
3. Design is a major issue. People think these products look clinical and hospitalised and they can unless designed by professionals – we always aim for our solutions to do the job but look great at the same time.
4. I often find that our customers are ‘uneducated’, through no fault of their own, and have no idea of what’s available to them, the features and benefits of these products and where they can find them.
5. Point 5 is a major contributor, no-one likes to admit they are getting old or struggling however the fact of the matter is it happens to us all and in an attempt to stay as safe and independently as possible sacrifices and changes must be made.
We see the same customer time after time, needs and problems differ, and therefore solutions, however they all have one thing in common – there happiness, joy and overwhelming delight of having the work done. Examples of a few customer comments can be seen below:
“You have taken me from despair to happiness” // “You have restored by dignity & confidence, I am once again able to bathe safely & independently” // “Knowing what I know now I should of had the work done years ago.”
Are you looking to create a safe & practical bath or shower room in your home? Why not download our FREE guide, packed full ofhandy tips, advice and all things to consider when adding or renovating an easy access mobility suite.
MoreAbility*, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires leading and most experienced bath & shower room specialist for all types of stylish, safe & practical and bespoke solutions. Offering a fully project managed design & installation service we pride ourselves on meeting individual wants, needs and aspirational requirements.