This post is commissioned by Mobility Plus, sharing my thoughts on making bathrooms more accessible when you are struggling with mobility issues or long term health concerns that can make personal care more challenging.
Almost two years ago, I had major knee surgery. Long term injuries and joint issues, made worse by a job that means I am on my feet all day, and high impact exercise all took it’s toll and after a series of smaller surgeries and lots of input from physiotherapists, we decided that the time was right and I had a partial knee replacement. It was a big deal for me. I am a fairly active, mobile person, and to have to deal with being in recovery mode, was emotionally and physically challenging for me. I spent ten days initially recovering and then 8 weeks in intensive post operative physical therapy to “get me back on my feet”.
It was very hard to be out of action, and dealing with that and the pain of post op recovery was not easy.
One thing for me was loosing a level of independence. I had to ask for help to do basic things like getting dressed, and things like showering and bathing were challenging, because getting in and out of our rather old, steep to get into and narrow bath, was pretty difficult. Being able to have a bath or a shower became a bit of a mission, because I needed someone else to make sure I didn’t fall over, and putting a lot of weight on my sore and recovering knee wasn’t allowed.
It made me think that long term, our bathroom really isn’t suitable for anyone with mobility issues, and given that I face major surgery again next year, on the same knee, to fix the final issues I have (we have taken the process in stages, to try and minimise the impact on our busy lives) it really isn’t a practical space. For me, being able to bath or shower whilst I am restricted movement wise, will only be temporary but that’s not the case for everyone. Some people may even consider moving home, because their bathroom becomes a space they cannot use.
I firmly believe that the bathroom in your home should be a space that you can enjoy safely and not dread using. Being able to relax and enjoy a bath is something that I would hate to give up. A walk in bath is a feature that many people consider as a practical solution to being able to bath, independently. Whilst it may mean you need to have your bathroom revamped, it’s well worth the investment.
Your bathroom doesn’t have to look terrible, or boring, in fact you can have a stylish bath (or shower) fitted that will make life easier for you, but that also still makes your bathroom a place that you feel comfortable in. You can choose a style that works for you, and fits in with the shape and size of your bathroom, but that still allows you freedom to bath, and peace of mind.
It seems like a simple thing, being able to bath, but when your mobility is limited it is more complicated. Having your bathroom space adapted and a bath that works for you, is a solution that could make your life so much easier and mean you can maintain your independence and self care for so much longer. In a way, having knee surgery was a big wake up call for me, and has made me realise how very important this is.