8 things that can make a mobility impaired person’s daily life easier – Showerbuddy

8 things that can make a mobility impaired person’s daily life easier

8 things that can make a mobility impaired person’s daily life easier

There’s no question that the challenges someone experiencing a mobility impairment each day are significant. While the range of injuries or conditions that result in reduced mobility is broad, any disability that prevents daily routines like bathroom use, cooking or getting dressed requires the support of those around the individual. In this article we’ll talk about some of the ways friends and family may be able to help make daily life just a bit easier – it all counts.

The importance of the daily routine

But before we get into the suggestions, first a word on what daily routines mean for our wellbeing. Many of us don’t even consciously think about routines – we simply go about life and pick up habits and ways of doing things that are practical for our own needs. If you stop and think about what your average day consists of, there’s probably hundreds of small activities that are the same each day, and often in the same order.

We don’t think about these often because they just happen. But when someone experiences a loss of mobility, these activities most definitely are thought about, as they become more of a challenge to conduct.

As such, it’s easy for families and the individual to lose these daily routines and allow the mobility impairment to dictate large changes in their life. This loss of control can be tremendously unsettling. An occupational therapist’s job is often centred around assessing and planning a way for their clients to live their daily lives how they want as much as possible. Their work involves determining the level of mobility impairment versus the tasks they wish to do as part of their daily routine – then bridging the gap of mobility using a combination of assistive technology, human care and potentially physical rehab or training of the individual.

Having these routines in place helps to build a feeling of independence and self-determination – something which many feel they lose through disability. The daily routine also can help to alleviate stress around the unknown – confidence that there’s a daily or weekly plan for doing things a certain way.

1. The ability to communicate with multiple family members and friends

Feeling isolated is a very common thing for mobility impaired people to experience. As friends and family, we should make the effort to ensure that the lines of communication are always open. Having a strong support network isn’t just about talking about or getting help with mobility. In fact these relationships need to be kept in tact and based around things unrelated to the disability.

Depending on the level of physical and cognitive ability, communication may be enabled through:

  • In person interactions
  • Online chat and messaging (potentially engaged with via voice command)
  • Video calls
  • Phone calls

Take the time to figure out the most practical and effective means of communication – this deserves as much attention as any other activity.

2. A comfortable transport option

Transport is obviously not as simple as quickly getting into the car and going when you need to negotiate a physical disability. It requires planning around the routine for getting out of the home, into the car, secured and on the road.
There also needs to be consideration on what happens at the other end – what equipment is needed to get around while out at shops, on holiday or at another person’s house that may not have the same level of access?


Comfort in transport is crucial because it empowers the mobility impaired individual to seek travel more readily and include out of home activities across their week. When we aren’t confined to our homes, it helps for a more interesting and fulfilling lifestyle. It’s the job of the occupational therapist and the individual’s loved ones to find a way to create a transport plan that works for everyone.

3. Accessible planning around school, work and hobbies

As part of transportation and getting around, you may want to work with the various venues and places that your loved one will attend throughout the week. You’ll find most of the time a willingness to accommodate mobility needs as much as possible.

Before attempting to visit these places, do a mission to determine the access.

Consider things like:

  • Are there ramps up to entrances?
  • Do entrances/exits have good clearance width-ways to fit assistive equipment like a wheelchair?
  • Does the building allow for drive-up access?
  • Does the internal access of the building have ramps and lifts to get everywhere quickly?
  • Have you identified the fire exits and their safety for a wheelchair?

Once you’ve had a look, you can chat to the school, business or someone from that place and discuss the needs you have. In many parts of the world, building regulations exist around many types of structures designed for community / public use that makes them accessible. If the week plans involve visiting other homes, you may need to do a bit more planning.

4. Assistive technology for bathing

Using the bathroom is part of everyone’s daily routine. For someone with mobility impairment, the bathroom presents a number of hazards and obstacles. Given showering, toileting and washing up are fairly private activities, the reliance upon another person for every stage of this can be a hard adjustment for many.
By introducing purpose-built assistive technology into the bathroom, the dependence upon another person can be greatly reduced. For example, grab bars along the side of the bathtub, a frame around the toilet for elevated seating, or anti-slip mats.


But if you’re looking for a complete bathroom mobility solution that removes the need for any of that, the Showerbuddy range of products is ideal. The Showerbuddy supports the whole process of using the bathroom from moving around the space, using the toilet, washing up and of course, showering. The range has versions of the chair to suit different user needs and bathroom configurations.

When solutions like this are introduced, families or the carer greatly reduces their risk of injury during manual transfer. But as importantly, these chairs allow many users to enjoy moments of bathroom use alone, earning back vital privacy and dignity.

5. Remove rugs and mats

Obstacles on the floor simply create potential for trips and catching on mobility equipment. They can also slow down movement out of a room which is an issue when having to rush to the bathroom or exit in an emergency.

Check these places in the home:

  • Entrance the house both in front of the door outside and in the entrance way.
  • Rugs in the hallways.
  • The lounge
  • Bathmats

While you can keep rugs in places where your loved one won’t have to move through, it’s a good idea to keep a clear thoroughfare around the home.

6. Mop and dry hard floors before use

A clean home is a good idea for safety regardless, but ensuring floors are free of debris, spills and grime is even more important.
With less stability or reliance upon assistive technology, dirty floors can cause slip hazards. Make sure that the hard floors are mopped and dried completely before use.

7. Bring a commode unit bedside

Having a bedside commode helps to reduce the anxiety associated with getting to the bathroom on time – especially useful at night time where making it can be even harder.
With products like the Showerbuddy range of chairs, there is a commode bucket installed and removable, so the comfort of the chair doesn’t depend upon a bathroom toilet. It’s nice to have it when you need it.

8. Decision making for themselves

While family and friends often approach care for their loved one with all the best intentions, this enthusiasm to help needs to be tempered with careful listening to the individual about what they want to do.
With less freedom and independence than fully mobile people, any personal agency around decision making needs to be enabled as much as possible. The occupational therapist will develop the structure of daily plans with the individual and their family, but there’s always the option for changing things up to suit. It’s our job to support their need for making decisions about their own lives.

Further reading

Enjoyed this article? You may be interested in these resources online:

The information in this article is intended as general information only and is not a replacement for official health guidance by your local medical providers. Please always consult an occupational therapist and/or local healthcare for more specific guidance.