I had a heck of a time lifting my leg to get me out of the shower today. Hip flexor spasticity or something - what's that muscle that runs from the inside of the leg to the outside of the knee? Whatever that is, it's acting up, and it's very painful/almost impossible to lift my leg high enough to get me out of the tub. I have to sit down and put my underwear on the floor to get my legs through the holes!
So has anybody remodeled their bathroom? I don't have a lot of money, and can't afford a real remodel, but if this is going to be a problem, I need to do something about it.
I've just started on Baclofen. I'm on the three pills a day titrate, and I've been leery of going up any further. Of course, that's what it's there for - if I need to go up to four pills, I guess I can do that.
Hi, Jen. I remodeled two bathrooms last year, one to accomodate the fact that I can't lift my left into and out of the bathtub safely either and one to accomodate a wheelchair, should either my mom or I ever need one.
I have remodeled my bathroom because of difficulty getting out of a tub. Basically I ripped out the old bathtub and put in a shower in it's place. I'm actually still in the process of doing this as I am redoing the entire bathroom. But the shower only took a day to do and about $500. Of course I did all the work myself so that cut down costs quite a bit.
In Canada there are a couple of avenues for financial assistance for these kinds of renovations:
1) the Home Renovations Tax Credit (can claim on annual federal income tax for reno expenses > $1K to maximum of $10K)
2) the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities, for renovations to improve home accessibility. Assistance is a fully forgivable loan to a max of $16K - 24K for home owners, depending on region of residence
(http://www. cmhc-schl .gc.ca/en/co/prfinas/prfinas_003.cfm)
Perhaps there are similar programs available in your state, or federally in the U.S.?
There is a cheap adaptation of a fiberglass tub that involves cutting a U-shape out of the side.
Imagine you are looking straight at the side of the tub. The U-Shape is cut from the top down to about 4 inches from the floor and about 14 inches wide. Now this prevents the tub from being used for a bath, but, with a shower curtain becomes a walk-in shower. Then an insert is placed over the opening and calked into place.
At my parents' former Retirement Community this was done routinely and in the time span of a couple hours. Then they put in a shower seat that was hinged to the wall and rested on the side of the tub. This was primo cheapo. (okay! okay! Bien barato)
We removed a fiberglass tub/shower insert (with the walls going three quarters around) and built a walk-in shower with a built in seat. We installed a separate valve for the seated area so my mom could reach the controls - force and temp. There is a light hand-held shower head that can be set to spray down on the seated person or lifted for all over rinsing. Many valves now can be set so that they cannot get hot enough to scald without turning the water heater way down.
Downstairs we made a roll in shower that has (actually "will have") a curtain going around the two open sides. There is a fold down seat and both a shower head and a hand-held wand for slipping into tight places. It is light and maneuverable.
I'll post pictures like I have been promising for lo these many years.
We basically did the same thing Dennis did. It's great because there is room for a chair in there on the days I need it and there is a hand held as well as ceiling mounted showerhead. We also had a very secure grab bar installed.
Other options are the shower bench that Lulu mentioned and long-handled adaptive devices that are made to help get clothing, socks, and shoes on.
Can you bend at the knee? It is possible for some people with limited hip flexion to side step into the tub by flexing the knee to lift each leg over the side of the tub. You must be very careful and have sturdy grab bars to hold to do this safely!
I hope you find something to work Jen. Anyone know of any potentials for funding assistance to help cover the cost of this type of remodel?
I have an elderly friend who uses a special tub seat. It rotates to the edge of the tub so she can sit on it, then rotates under the shower head. Between that and secure grips, she gets in and out quite easily.
This past summer when I was in London, the hotel tub had a particularly high ledge, making it hard for me to get in. I wound up just lifting my right leg manually over the edge, and that worked for me. If my leg gets worse I'll be in big trouble that way, though at home I have a stall shower, so no worries.
Can you sit on the edge, hold on to something secure, and swing your body over? That might make showering easier while you solve the issue. I too have to sit to put on underwear, but my bed works for that.
I'm sorry that you have got to where you need to think about remodelling.
After my relapse last September I found that I couldn't step in or out of the tub to take a shower.
My friend had to help me to do this but even then my balance was so bad that it wasn't safe. Finally in January I realised that I was going to have to do something, I decided to get the tub taken out and a walk in shower put in its place.
Unfortunately not knowing any plumbers/joiners/handy persons it did end up being a bit costly. There is government money available (UK) for grants to do this but I didn't qualify - because of my MS though I did not have to pay any tax on the purchase which would otherwise have been 17.5%
I see that in posts above you have been given lots of excellent advice on where to look for financial assistance with this.
Anyway it has made taking a shower so much easier for me and I am very glad that I took the plunge (pardon the pun!)
My shower has a fold down seat at one end (great for sitting to wash my feet as the "one legged balancing act" is a total no no!)
There are several grab bars, the base is completely non-slip, the shower head is located near the seat with 2 thingys(?!) to put the shower head into, one lower down for if I am sitting.
There are 3 soap dishes so that whichever end of the shower I am in one is handy for me.
I have recovered quite a bit now since my relapse and would probably manage with the over the tub shower, however if the same should happen again it is good to know that I have the walk in shower.
Unfortunately the tub is cast iron, so I won't be able to cut it up!
It looks like I might be able to qualify for the MSAA assistive devices grant, so I'll look into that. They have shower benches and grab bars... I do have a grab bar that I got my honey to install, and it's come in very handy. I've now made it a rule that I must get out of the tub before I start drying myself - it's just too dangerous the other way.
Coincidentally, my friend with the shower seat called this morning and I asked her more about it. She said she bought a good one, metal and plastic, at a local medical supply store. It cost $139. That sounds like a pretty good deal.
Apparently these things are also available online and in catalogs, but there's nothing like seeing it in 3D first.
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