Senior citizens constantly face a myriad of problems when it comes to their health. People suffering from limited mobility, poor hygiene, illnesses, or disabilities can all benefit from using a bidet.
Restoring Toileting Independence
Many seniors enlist the help of caregivers to help them through their daily lives.
With a deteriorating body, good hygiene can be difficult to maintain. Elderly people often experience ailments such as arthritis, bladder infections, vision loss, dementia, and ALS.
For an ALS patient, even the simplest everyday tasks can become quite difficult. It’s hard enough to deal with this disease without having to worry about embarrassing but necessary needs such as personal hygiene in the bathroom. While an ALS patient may need assistance with a lot of everyday tasks, the restroom is one area in which he or she can retain a great deal of independence.
Bidet seats restore toileting independence for seniors by allowing them to maintain their hygiene without having a dedicated caregiver. Bidets can help seniors stay at home longer without having to move into assisted living facilities.
Enhancing Quality of Life
There is a common misconception about how bidets are difficult to operate. There is also a notion that any piece of new technology in an elderly person’s hands will become a struggle. However, bidets are actually really simple to operate.
A bidet’s remote is large, easy to see, and straight to the point. Some washlets will even have customizable presets to simplify the process. Most people prefer a wireless remote over a side-panel because it is easier to operate. Those who are experiencing limited mobility or vision loss can benefit from having a wireless remote, especially during post-surgery recovery.
For a patient with physical disabilities, it is also helpful for the remote to be very simple with large buttons. When muscle control is an issue, navigating through a great deal of small sensitive buttons can be a problem. A basic bidet with simple functions will suffice. While maneuvering toilet paper in delicate areas can be very difficult with deteriorating muscle control, pushing a button is much easier.
Heated Seats, Warm Dryer, and Adjustable Water Temperature
Nobody likes to sit on a cold toilet seat during those long winter months. Having a warm seat will lessen the stress level of those suffering from impaired cognitive abilities like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The idea of having freezing cold water spray your rear can scare first-time bidet users away, so all electronic bidet seats will have adjustable water temperatures. The whole cleansing process can be completely “hands free.”
Using a bidet’s warm air dryer allows the user to dry off without having to use their hands.
Enema and Wide Spray Wash
Some bidets with a dedicated “enema” wash can help alleviate constipation and stimulate the rectal area to promote bowel movements. The “enema” wash is different from an actual enema in that it uses a high pressure, narrow wash stream to introduce a small amount of water into the anal cavity. When water is introduced to the anal cavity, it gives the user the sensation that they need to defecate. This allows them to “push out” any bits of fecal matter still present in the rectal area. People who suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) would also benefit from the enema wash.
It is important to clean the anal area thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria that is left behind. If this isn’t done properly, bacteria can grow and spread on the skin which may lead to infections. For women, fecal matter that travels to the vaginal area can cause many uncomfortable infections. The wiping of toilet paper often smears bacteria around rather than cleaning it up. Even when the paper appears clean, bacteria can still be present. A warm stream of water is much more effective for washing bacteria away. A bidet is also more likely to prevent any remaining bacteria from spreading.
Hemorrhoid sufferers will benefit from using a bidet’s wide spray option. The best way to get relief from inflammation with a bidet is to opt for a cool water wash. Most bidets have several temperature settings. With hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or other types of inflammation, you may feel a sense of heat. If you find yourself wishing you could just sit on an ice pack, head to the bidet and try a nice cold water cleanse to help to soothe the irritated area. The intense itching and burning is very uncomfortable for those who have bad hemorrhoids. In fact, it can be quite painful. One way to deal with this is to use a bidet for cleaning the area instead of toilet paper. Toilet paper can feel like sand paper on those inflamed tissues.
Modern washlets can be easily installed on most existing residential toilets. This can make the transition towards a bidet seat less frightening than a traditional bidet.
We would suggest having someone else try the bidet out first so senior users would know what to expect beforehand.
For added support, seniors can use grab bars and handle bars to help lift themselves off the toilet. It is best to use free standing hand rails, or wall mounted grab bars to prevent incompatibilities with bidet seats. Bidet seats need to be installed over the two bolt holes (where the toilet seat and lid attaches onto the toilet bowl). Because of this, any adaptations using the same two holes will not be able to work with a bidet.
If you’re in the market for a new toilet, look for ADA or “comfort height” models that are taller and raised from the ground up.