Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Maintaining Dignity in Seniors: Keeping Private Moments Private

As someone you love ages, it’s hard to watch them lose their dignity.  A friend of mine’s father suffered with Parkinson’s disease.  He was an extremely intelligent, witty man with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a successful business career behind him.   

But as the rigidity that’s part of the Parkinson’s package set in, he found it difficult to button his clothes without help.  It took longer for him to eat every meal.  As his balance was compromised, he stumbled when he walked. Because he had difficulty swallowing, he dribbled.  And as his mind slowed, his wit went with it. 
In his last year he needed help to go to the bathroom, bathing and getting dressed. It broke my friend’s heart to watch the decline of this brilliant man, and to watch his dignity erode day by day.

The story of her father got me to thinking about what can we do to help those we love and care for to maintain their dignity.  A lot of it’s about enabling someone to hold on to their independence so they can keep private moments private.
What are those moments?  A few that jump to mind are getting dressed, going to the bathroom, bathing and showering.  I can’t address all of them today so I’m going to focus on the most private moment of all….going to the bathroom.

There are products today that make it possible for someone who has limited mobility to keep the bathroom moments to private. 
Comfort Height Toilets

If someone just doesn’t have the strength anymore to power up from the standard height toilets, which are a meager 13” high, a comfortheight toilet, at 17”, is just what they need.  In fact, most people find this height more comfortable whatever their age and fitness level.
Grab Bars

Increase safety when getting up and down from the toilet by installing grab bars.  They don’t have to be the institutional grab bars you’re used to seeing.  Grab bars are now available that add a design flare to the bathroom while providing a touch of security when someone needs a little help.
Tush Push Toilet Lift  

For a little more of a boost getting off the toilet, the Tush Push Toilet Lift is ideal.  When it’s installed over any toilet, it transforms it into one that lifts you up just like a lift chair.

Imagine the loss of privacy that comes with not being able to use toilet paper yourself.  There’s an answer to this problem that doesn’t involve getting help from someone else.    It’s the Washlet.  It’s a personal cleaning system that uses warm, aerated water to clean, similar to a bidet.  It keeps people feeling refreshed and is more hygienic than toilet paper.  And it’s quite luxurious.  The Washlet pampers with a heated seat and guarantees a natural, purifying experience that will leave the user clean and happy.
Goodbye for now…George Flowers.

What experiences have you had as you tried to help someone maintain their dignity as their health compromised their independence?
Have you discovered any products that can truly enhance a person’s dignity and independence as they age?

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