A toilet with a safety frame, grab bar and bidet attachment, a packet of disposable washcloths, a detachable shower head and shower chair.

My Favorite Bathroom Products That Help Me Care for My Mom

As my mom's Alzheimer's disease has progressed, she needs more help these days with her activities of daily living.

I help her in the bathroom. I help her get dressed. I make all of her meals. I organize and dispense her meds. I make and attend all of her doctors appointments. I am also her exercise coordinator, and translator when her words are most elusive. I am also her driver. She hasn't driven in years.

Attempting to work smarter, not harder

Like most caregivers, I could really use some help! I have always heard to "work smarter, not harder." I have gotten a few things lately to help me do just that. A battery toothbrush and flosser handle with refills are a couple of simple things that have helped in the bathroom.

To be honest, the bathroom is where I struggle the most. Mom has been having trouble lowering herself down onto the toilet in time before she starts to go. It gets quite messy, and she feels unstable.

We have a chair-height toilet. That was my first thought. Maybe we needed to swap it out for a taller one, but ours is already tall.

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Free-standing grab bar toilet safety frame

I recently purchased a free-standing grab bar toilet safety frame to go around the toilet. It is hideous, to be sure, but easy to assemble, and it helps mom to sit and stand back up after using the toilet. It doesn't fold, but it is very sturdy. It has a tiny magazine rack, which just makes me laugh.

I didn't need a handy man to screw grab bars permanently into the walls, and we can always store the handrails in another room if we have company and don't want to leave it out.

Did I mention it's hideous? It's as if the manufacturer couldn’t decide between light green and light grey, so they split the difference. It's sort of early soviet hospital, but it's a keeper at 47 dollars.

A bidet isn't just for the rich and famous

We have a bidet installed underneath the toilet seat. Frankly, this model doesn't seem to help much with my mom's anatomy. We were hoping to eliminate the need for wiping with toilet paper altogether. Mom really struggles with wiping.

I still think it will be a good idea, so my family will try a more expensive model that has a remote, heated seat and heated water. Fancy! It's in the 250 dollar range, as opposed to 500 dollars, as some can run.

The one we have was just 46 dollars from Amazon. I'll let y'all know how this goes. Will it pay for itself if we don't need to buy as much toilet paper?

Wash cloths that change the game

Large disposable wash cloths have been a game changer. I buy them from Sam's Club, so Walmart probably has them. I can use them with mom between showers. Mostly, we use them after she uses the toilet. She can clean herself up and get what the toilet paper missed.

Mom wipes herself better standing up with the cloths than sitting with the paper. They cannot be flushed, so I have to be sure to shut the toilet lid, or I'll be fishing them out.

I used wipes on my babies when changing diapers. Why not mom? It is 11 dollars for 240 wipes.

What I also used on my kids was barrier cream. Mom needs that too sometimes. She sits a lot and can get a sore spot on her rump. Boogie Diaper Rash Spray lets me apply it without getting in there with my hands. It's much less invasive for both of us. I got it in the baby aisle at Target for about 10 dollars.

A growing wish list

I curb-side-shopped a shower chair, which we haven't used yet. I wish we had a hand-held sprayer in our shower. Our shower head comes from the ceiling, so I'm not sure how that will work.

So far, these products have helped me without breaking the bank or my back. I'm still figuring some things out. High-end or low-end, what has helped you in your caregiving? What are you still trying to figure out? Share in this forum, and help out another caregiver like you!

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