Bathing & Personal Hygiene Hints & Tips to make life easier

By Diane Parkes

When you suffer from arthritis, rheumatism or a chronic pain condition, many daily activities can become a problem.  One of the most difficult areas can be bathing and personal hygiene – it can be both troublesome and downright painful!

If you are lucky you will have a spouse, partner, carer or friend to help out with your daily hygiene routine. If not, well it still has to be done somehow. After all, being as independent as possible is a great boost for self-esteem and confidence.

This article first appeared in the Fibromyalgia Magazine. Why not subscribe and receive the latest Fibromyalgia News every month?

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The problems could arise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Washing
  • Having a bath
  • Having a shower
  • Using the toilet
  • Washing your hair

If you are having problems in the bathroom there are changes that can be made in order to make things that little bit easier:

  • Problems getting through the doorway – the answer could be a sliding door
  • Problems getting close to the wash basin because of your wheelchair or the need to sit down – basins are available without pedestals, this could indeed solve the problem but ensure equipment is always fitted by a qualified tradesman.
  • Problems turning taps on and off – there is no law saying you cannot have mixer taps in the bathroom, or invest in some inexpensive ‘tap turners’.
  • Problems getting in and out of the bath – you could consider having a shower fitted instead of the bath. This is an expensive option though, and obviously not everyone has the funding available to do it. Even so, there are numerous aids and adaptations around, which can make having a bath easier, especially for the more severely disabled. Battery operated lifts and hoists can be the answer, but again, these are expensive.  It is important to be assessed by an Occupational Therapist if you are having real difficulties, especially in view that these people can arrange loan of such equipment.
  • If you are unsteady on your feet and/or suffer from weakness and/or dizziness – have grab rails installed wherever you need a little extra stability. Again, always have items like these fitted by a qualified professional.
  • If your toilet is too low – there are many types of raised toilet seat available, one to suit almost every budget.
  • If standing to take a shower is out of the question there are also numerous models of seat and stool, again one to suit every budget.


Further hints & tips for the Bathroom:


  • If washing your hair is a problem, could someone come and do it for you? You can buy special ‘hair-washing trays’ that will easily enable someone to do this for you. You could even arrange to have it washed on a regular basis at a local hairdressing salon – my own personal solution to the problem!
  • Always ensure your bathroom has a non-slip floor for added safety.
  • If washing certain areas, for example; back or feet, is a problem then try investing in a long handled bath brush or flannel strap, available from all good disability aid stockists. Or simply get someone else to wash them for you.
  • If you suffer from painful hands – consider changing from a conventional bar of soap to liquid soap from a pump dispenser.
  • Always use non-slip mats both in and beside the bath.
  • Invest in a good set of toilet ‘rails’ – these will help both with sitting and standing.
  • Problems combing your hair – special long handled brushes and combs are available, again from all good disability aid stockists.
  • If you have problems pulling out plugs there are special plugs available with balloon ends to make this problem disappear.
  • Never bath or shower if you are alone in the house – it simply is not worth the risk.
  • For your own safety it would be wise to never lock the bathroom door unless absolutely necessary.
  • For the sake of safety you might consider having some form of emergency pull-cord or alarm fitted – especially if you are very unsteady on your feet or have, fits, black-outs, etc.
  • If you are mobile and often use the toilet or commode during the night – always put a light on.

This article first appeared in the Fibromyalgia Magazine. Why not subscribe and receive the latest Fibromyalgia News every month?

More information here.