Adaptive bathroom


My father in law was recently diagnosed with PD. He lives alone and we are his only family, but live 3 hours away from him. He has a shower over his curved bath, but is really struggling to shower now due to stiffness. We’ve seen lots of adverts showing adaptable showers that can be installed in a day, but some of the reviews are not very good and they seem very expensive. He contacted his last bathroom fitter, but he reckons it would take 2 weeks for him to change his bathroom. This is no good, as he needs to be able to shower. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or advice please. We also need to get him a stairlift, and automatic armchair. To be honest, there’s so much for us to organise from afar and we just want to do what’s best for him. He wants to stay independent for as long as he can - he’s 82. Any advice would be really appreciated. Thank you.


Hi and welcome to the forum, @SezP. You’ll find the community here very friendly and I hope they will have some advice for you very soon. I hear what you’re saying about your father in law wanting to live independently, and at the same time having some specific difficulties around his home. As well, you don’t live close to him. However, he’s very fortunate that you care enough to help him sort this out.

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Hello SezP
Welcome to the forum and it’s good to know your father-in-law has such a supportive family even though I appreciate that the distance does not make this easy for any of you.
I would strongly recommend that your father-in-law applies to his local council for an assessment by an occupational therapist (or you can do this on his behalf but I think you may need his permission to do this.) An occupational therapist will look at all the issues you mentioned and make recommendations based on your father’s needs, the adapability of his property and the options that may be available to him. Furthermore, depending on his financial state, he may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant and have some or even all the costs paid.
I am not sure of the current situation but if it hasn’t changed there may be a delay in an occupational therapist being appointed to your father-in-law’s case and this is simply because there is not enough of them. As I said I don’t know the current situation so it is worth checking at the time you make a referral if you choose to follow this route. Some occupational therapists work in the private sector so you can if you wish, pay for an assessment which could probably be done much sooner than waiting for the local council. Contact the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 106-114 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LB 020 3141 4600.
I hope this helps.

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Thank you Janice - I will give that number a go and see what advice they can give.

Hi Tot

Thank you for your lovely reply.

We did get in touch a few months ago with the occupational therapy team who were lovely, helpful and have already provided ramps, hand grabs and bath seat for my father in law. They suggested that if we could afford private we should pay for the bathroom adaptions and stairlift ourselves, because the process takes far too long. It’s just finding the right company to do this type of job and to do it really quickly. We are finding it a bit of a struggle with working, looking after our children and trying to organise everything for my father in law from a distance. My husband has to travel down most weeks as my FIL keeps going into hospital with Parkinson’s symptoms. We also have to accompany him to all hospital consultations as we are finding that’s he’s not able to process information given to him. I’m glad I’ve joined this forum as it will help moving forward. Thanks again for your help.

The process can indeed take an age but if you are going to go it alone make sure you get good advice. Hopefully you have been given some ideas as to what’s needed. In case not here are a few very gentle pointers to think about. From what you have said, it sounds like a wet room would be the safest option as it removes the need to step in altogether. People worry about water going everywhere but I for example had a diverted screen put in and the water is mostly contained in the shower area. It is essential you get someone who knows what they are doing as getting the gradient wrong can lead to all sorts of problems. I opted to go for a specialist company, not the cheapest option but they could do all the project managing and I had redress for any issues and was worth every penny. Mine was quite a big job and took one lovely man and an electrician three weeks. It’s not possible to put a wet room everywhere. If you opt for a cubicle get the lowest level step in you can. You need to be aware of the space if he should need help for eg, and room needed to get in and out. Bathrooms are often small and something simple like hanging the door on the opposite side can add a surprising amount of extra space. Re stairlifts most reputable companies will take all factors into account such as room to get on and off safely. They will not get him to the wc quickly if urgency is an issue.
The most important thing to remember is you are the customer and companies worth their salt don’t do the hard sell they are more interested in getting it right and it is always worth taking a bit of time to think about it. This is very general but it is important not to go too fast not only will you probably be wasting your money but worse you may end up with something that doesn’t work for your father in law.
If I can help with anything in particular let me know, and I will try to help if I can.
Feel free to ignore if you wish I just didn’t want you to jump in without realising what you were potentially getting into

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As Tot has said Occupational Therapist from your local council is an important call. However if he/she has already suggested you pay privately could possibly mean the wait via the council for a disability grant is very long or maybe he/she thinks your father in law has funds above that which would entitle him to obtain a grant. This said it is his local council that hold the purse strings and you should be able to speak directly to someone there and ask them (especially if you’re able to give them an idea if your father in law’s finances) if would he be entitled to a grant and if so what is the wait period.
Having recently been through this for my husband to find we are not eligible for financial help - however our council were able to give us a list of the contractors they have worked with on disabled bathroom alterations They are not legally able to directly recommend anyone) but the occupational therapist was able to highlight unofficially 3 companies on the list that she’d worked with and knew understood the requirements.
Re-iterating Tot’s words it is important to use contractors who understand the requirements for a disabled accessible wetroom. When my husband suddenly lost the ability to stand and Walk (from Sepsis not his Parkinson’s) I very hurriedly used a local plumber to make hasty alterations to a shower room which ultimately have failed and now need doing correctly and I wish I’d sought help and ensured I’d used a contractor with better knowledge.
Also you might benefit from contacting the PALS organisation of the hospital your father in law has to attend and Help the Aged as they maybe able to help with providing an intermediary to accompany him, a chaperone.
Good luck and best Wishes Jane

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That is excellent advice Plus1. I am sure it will be much appreciated

Thank you ever so much for this sound advice. We are approaching companies but will speak to the occupational therapist too to see if they know anyone.

Thank you for this. PALS and Help The Aged is something we had not considered so will contact them as having a chaperone would really help.

Hi SezP, Check out the CUE1 on YouTube. It looks very interesting and if its as good as they claim I have got to wonder why this device is not being adverised more widely. Honestly as yet I have not tried this but it looks promising.

Down here in Devon we have a firm called Ability Bathe & they fit showers within 24 hours plus hand rails, we know because they came & changed our shower cubicle for us & a grand job they did too.