EA Mobility wanted to raise public awareness about MND while telling recently diagnosed sufferers and their families about assisted and accessible bathing solutions that maintain quality of life and financial assistance schemes that help towards the costs.
This involved research into MND, the bathing options available and local government grants. It also required a sensitive, compassionate approach to readers whose lives are likely to have recently been impacted by the disease.
Motor Neurone Disease
What is it?
In the UK roughly two in every 100,000 are affected by this rare condition every year, with approximately 5,000 living with it at any one time. It can affect adults of all ages and is slightly predisposed towards men. Diagnosis is usually made in those over the age of forty and symptoms mostly develop in the sixties. Occurrence in teenagers is extremely rare.
Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neurone disease (MND) is caused by nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord gradually ceasing to function. These nerve cells, called motor neurones, control the muscles needed to walk, grip objects, speak, swallow and even breathe.
MND is a progressive disease, and while it isn’t usually painful, such activities become increasingly difficult until they may eventually become impossible.
Muscle wastage may even be visible.
Early signs of MND often include a weakened grip, difficulty in raising an arm because of shoulder weakness, a dragging leg or slurred speech. In addition, it is sometimes associated with frontotemporal dementia, which can affect personality and behaviour, yet the affected person may be unaware of this.
For most people, MND is severely life-shortening. Fifty per cent of affected persons survive for three years following the start of symptoms, but ten years isn’t uncommon and in exceptional circumstances, longer still.
Living with MND
The prospect of gradually losing control of one’s limbs, speech and breathing is understandably terrifying, not only for affected persons but also for their families, but MND now has a high profile both in the public and medical communities. Scientists are constantly researching better ways to prevent and treat the disease.
In addition, specialist support and equipment can significantly prolong an affected person’s independence, assist loved ones in their day-to-day care, and enable a quality of life that may have seemed impossible when they were first diagnosed.
Possibly the most valuable and practical aid is a wet room, and these can be installed in most existing home bathrooms. The main features of a wet room are:
- The shower area is easily accessible, even to a wheelchair, and is either open to the rest of the room or set behind a single wall if adjacent to a toilet or basin unit.
- The floor of the shower area is completely flush with that of the rest of the bathroom, and all water run-off from the shower is directed to an outlet set into the floor.
If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with MND and you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant which will pay for, or contribute towards, the costs of installing a wet room in your own home. Click here to enter your postcode, and you will be put through to your local council who can advise you on grants and eligibility.
Practicality with Style
Adapting your bathroom to accommodate someone with MND needn’t mean you have to sacrifice your home styling. Even if you are using a Disabled Facilities Grant, the choices in anti-slip flooring, wallcoverings, porcelainware and fittings are enough to create a solution that is both practical and elegant.
Companies that specialise in bathrooms and wet rooms for the less-abled, such as Norfolk-based EA Mobility, combine specialised expertise and high-quality products to deliver wet room solutions that provide practical, enjoyable showering for the whole household.
They will discuss your current requirements, advise you of adaptations that may be required as the condition progresses and suggest the most suitable redesign of your bathroom to create a wet room. When the design has been agreed their professional, considerate team will handle the entire project from start to finish, giving you the peace of mind that you are in safe hands.