Equipment for personal care

Looking after your personal hygiene or going to the toilet when you have Parkinson's can be difficult, depending on your symptoms. Specialist equipment can help make these self-care tasks easier.

Grab rails are helpful in bathrooms and toilets because they can help give you stability and confidence. Find out more here.

It is also a good idea to apply a slip resistant material to the bottom and edges of the bath or shower, as well as to railings. Shower heads on a hose are useful as then you can get the water exactly where it’s needed.   

Bath and shower seats

Bath and shower seats can help you get in and out of the bath with less risk of falling. Some people find these seats help to reduce problems with their balance when standing in the shower. 

There are 2 main types of bath seat. One sits across the top of the bath, as a seat or a simple board, which may be removed or attached to the wall on a hinge. The second type can be lowered into the bath manually or electrically. 

If you have a shower cubicle, you can use a free-standing stool or mount a ‘flip-down’ seat on the wall. There are many styles available and the one that is best for you will depend on the type of shower or bath unit you have, and your own preferences.

Converting a bath to a shower or wet room

Some people convert their baths to shower units or wet rooms. In some cases, it may be easier to convert a small bedroom or large storage area into a shower room instead of replacing a bath. If you find it hard to climb stairs, it may be an option to add a bathroom to the ground floor of your home. 

Some people with Parkinson’s find that a shower with a suitable seat and grab rails makes washing much easier, especially if the shower floor is level with the bathroom floor. 

Any major building work in the home can be expensive. It may be possible to get some funding to pay for your conversion, but it's important to talk to an occupational therapist about whether changing your bathroom is right for you. They can also advise you about financial support you may be able to apply for. You can also speak to your local council, social services or Parkinson’s local adviser about grants.

Raised toilet seats

A raised toilet seat can help you get up more easily from a seated position on the toilet and can help you maintain your independence. 

When choosing a raised toilet seat, the seat should be large enough for you to sit comfortably and avoid leakage. Your feet should remain firmly on the floor. Make sure the seat isn’t too high for other people in the house and that it can be safely removed and replaced. It is also possible to install a raised toilet.

Toilet grab rails

A grab rail can help you get on and off the toilet. It can also help with balance problems while standing and using the toilet.

There are different grab rails to choose from, including free-standing rails and hinged drop-down rails that fix to the wall behind the toilet. 

Toilet grab rails are usually supplied by social services or social work department. The type of rail that is best for you will depend on whether a fixed rail will fit the area around your toilet, if it will be at the appropriate height and whether you will need to adjust the rail at all.

Other equipment

A hand-held urinal may be useful if you need to go to the toilet urgently, but can’t get out of a bed or chair quickly enough. Some people use a commode, which means they don’t have to walk far at night if they need the toilet urgently or often. 

You can also buy discreet disposable pads to place in your underwear to help manage incontinence. Some men with urinary incontinence prefer to use a sheath. These fit over the penis and collect urine in a leg bag. 

Items like these are often available from specialist continence nurses or services, district nurses or with a GP prescription. 

Find out more about bladder and bowel problems in Parkinson's.

"I now have a range of living aids at my disposal which...are proving really helpful."

In spring last year, Roger, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 12 years ago, tripped in the garden and broke his hip. Here he shares how daily living equipment aided his recovery, but has since proved valuable as his Parkinson’s symptoms have progressed. 

Last updated October 2020. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]