Will A Wash And Dry Toilet Help My Elderly Parents?
This article is written in partnership with Closomat.
The positive impact that a wash and dry toilet can have on our independence and dignity is huge. If you’re thinking about buying one for a more accessible toilet experience, then this article is for you!
Importance Of A Toilet Aid
On average, we go to the toilet eight times per day. As we get older, this often becomes more difficult – that could be getting partly undressed, having the balance to sit or stand and dexterity to wipe hygienically. Unsurprisingly, this can have a real impact on our elderly parents’ feelings of independence and dignity, and can lead to incontinence.
But help is at hand – did you know that bathroom adaptations are the most common type of elderly home modifications, and the toilet is the most often altered fixture there.
A wash and dry toilet can help your parent feel more confident to use the toilet, which can in turn reduce the amount of time needed with a carer and risk of falling over, and encourage them to stay living at home.
And that’s why we’re so thrilled to have teamed up with Closomat to find out the in’s and out’s of what could be a life-changing decision for your family. With over 60 years’ experience, Closomat is the only specialist UK-based manufacturer of Wash and Dry toilets (they make them all in the North West) and thousands of people use their toilets daily to help them live their best lives.
What Is A Wash And Dry Toilet?
As the name suggests, it’s a toilet that washes and dries you – no more reaching for toilet paper or having to wipe. These built in functions start automatically after the flush so the user is both hygienically clean and dry and able to operate it unaided and with dignity intact.
Extremely user-friendly, how it works is:
- Your parent sits down and goes to the toilet as usual.
- They then remain seated and flush the loo – depending on the customisation of their wash and dry toilet, this will likely be holding the flush handle with the elbow lever (but more options are available, more on this later).
- At the same time as the waste is flushed away, the spray arm comes out and starts the wash cycle over the clean pan – on average, your parent will be very clean after 12 seconds but as they’re in control it could be more or less.
- The douche spray then retracts and the warm air dryer starts automatically – it will last for three minutes or until your parent gets up unaided.
- And there you have it, the most effective wash on the market!
A wash and dry toilet can be used as a conventional loo too if there are others using it – just stand up and flush it.
Looking for more bathroom support? We’ve written about helping your parent get in and out of the bath easily and other useful bathroom aids that could make all the bathing difference.
Closomat Palma Vita Wash And Dry Toilet
The Closomat Palma Vita is their most popular model. Designed with disabilities in mind (such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and MS), it can be customised in thousands of ways so going to the toilet doesn’t have to be a burden.
Common adaptations include:
The elbow lever explained above comes as standard but your parent can also choose to flush with a touch sensitive hand or foot switch.
Air operated, it looks like a white squashed tennis ball that sits in a hygienic holster on the side of the toilet. Popular for its versatility, you gently squeeze it with the hand, foot, arm pit, head or mouth to activate.
One squeeze activates the flush, wash and dry. You can tell that these adaptive equipment changes have been made with people in mind.
Another option is the proxy switch. This fixes to a small steel plate with a magnet which attaches to integrated toilet arms or a nearby wall. Your parent blocks the LED sensor within it when they want to flush.
Other personalised options include getting integrated fold down arms (for extra stability), lateral body supports and different seat options (e.g. a bariatric toilet seat or different colours for visual impairment).
A toilet seat raise is an aid you might have come across for your parent – raising the seat by two, four or six inches so they have less distance to sit and stand.
Closomat can increase the height of their wash and dry toilets, something that independent OTs often recommend so that it works in a wet room setting with a shower commode chair (you can find compatible options on the website).
Whatever you decide, Closomat will be with you every step of the way to make the right choices for your parent, taking their height, weight, disability and preference into account.
Want to know about other products that can make life easier for older adults? Check out our article on useful and inexpensive aids that can make all the difference when it comes to staying independent.
How To Clean A Closomat Toilet
You clean it exactly the same as you would a conventional toilet, just make sure not to use bleach. There’s high grade stainless steel in some of the interior components, that when exposed to bleach, tend to tarnish them.
Installation And Service
The process of getting a Closomat wash and dry toilet is super easy, regardless of whether it comes from your occupational therapist or you go to them directly.
To ensure your parent gets the right customisation, Closomat either visit them at home or hold a virtual consultation.
During this, they will find out the space for the toilet, how your parent currently goes to the loo and speak with them about what the future could look like.
Their quote configurator will show the personalised toilet being made in front of them, so they can see what they’re getting.
Once made, it can then be installed by Closomat or a trusted plumber. No matter who installs it, Closomat will always make a customer care visit within two weeks. There’s also a 12month warranty which comes with unlimited call outs.
Each toilet is built to last, with highest grade porcelain, precision engineered stainless steel and UV-stabilised and impact resistant plastics.
Closomat Toilet Cost
A wash and dry toilet costs from £2,850 if bought privately. If going down this route, it’s worth checking if your parent is eligible for the Disabled Facilities Grant which can provide up to £30K for home adaptations.
Or, if an occupational therapist recommends one and your parent has a council house, it could be funded by the local authority.
Eco Friendly Toilet
This is a real sustainable toilet option too as no toilet paper is needed. It has been approved by the Water Regulatory Advisory Scheme too, using similar amounts of water as a standard loo.
If you’re looking for bathroom aids for the elderly, then it’s really worth you looking into a wash and dry toilet. This hygienic option can restore your parent’s feeling of independence, cut down on time needed with a carer and give you peace of mind that they’re healthy and safe at home. Thanks to Closomat for helping us understand all there is to know!
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