Washing, Dressing, Clothing & Using The Loo
The muscle weakness caused by your SMA may have just started to make it difficult for you to bath or shower and use the loo and you may need some equipment to help you. You may also be finding it difficult to get dressed and undressed and, if you’re a wheelchair user, that not all clothing is designed well for sitting comfortably or going out in rainy weather. Or you may be reading this because the equipment you've got isn't quite doing the job and you're looking for other ideas.
Page last reviewed / updated: April 2021
Next review due: April 2022
Washing & Using The Loo
If you already have an occupational therapist (OT), tell them what the problem is and they'll do their best to sort out equipment so that doing these things is as easy and stress-free as possible for you, your parents and anyone else who helps you out with your personal care. If you don’t have an OT but you’re having difficulties, contact your GP or neuromuscular consultant and ask for a referral to an OT. In many areas you can self refer to your local authority Occupational Therapy service for Equipment and Adaptations.
There’s a wide variety of equipment and new products coming onto the market all the time to suit different ages. These include:
- Using the bath: bath chairs, lifts, cushions, inserts and portable baths
- Showering: multi-function shower and commode chairs, mobile and wall-mounted shower cradles and trolleys, shower chairs and stools
- Using the loo: toilet seats, cushions, frames and rails, urine deflectors, junior and travel urinals, wash and dry facilities.
You may find the information pages on this website helpful in any discussions with your OT / physio:
- www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk Click on the tab at the top 'Health and Personal Care'
Your OT should be able to advise you about what would work best for you. They should be able to provide most items of equipment and / or tell your parents how to get assistance to pay for them.
SMA UK may also be able to help with funding suggestions.
You can find related information in the Living With SMA section:
Funding for Equipment.
Managing Days Out
Days out and travelling away from home can bring extra challenges.
Changing Places toilets provide a height adjustable changing bench with hoist and plenty of space. For more information and a map of where Changing Places can be found, see: www.changing-places.org
There’s a National Key Scheme for accessible toilets that can be found in shopping centres, cafes, department stores and in bus and train stations around the country. To unlock the toilets, you’ll need a RADAR key available to buy from: www.disabilityrightsuk.org/shop/official-and-only-genuine-radar-key
You've hopefully got some favourites, but aside from these, it may be challenging to find fashionable clothes or footwear that work for you - different clothes and styles can sometimes be uncomfortable and / or particularly difficult to get on and off. We’re asking people for their tips and advice on this to add to the Looking Good section. If you’ve already found some solutions and you have some suggestions, please let us know so that we can pass them on.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for practical options, families / adults have recommended these websites for adapted clothing: