All About Washlets

From time to time you find a product that has a major impact on someone's life.  This article is a very personal account that describes the step-by-step process beginning with the suggestion of this Toto product, installation and use.  This article was not sponsored or endorsed by Toto, but we sell their products and saw how the Washlet could be used as a solution to a big problem for those who have trouble using the toilet. We hope that if you know someone who could benefit from this you will share this.  It may also assist you as a discussion tool with your loved one. Contact us if you have any questions on ways to make your bathroom more accessible to your whole family. That includes the placement of grab bars or other facilities such as replacing a tub with a shower or walk in tub.  We are here to help.

Mind Your Own Business!  Get Your Parents a Washlet

by Janet O'Dea

Since the first outhouse that was built with a door, most people would agree that using the toilet is at best a private matter. But what happens when you face illness or injury or have a condition that causes you to need help before or after performing your regular bodily functions? Suddenly, the need for assistance does not allow you the privacy you were accustomed to any longer. The stark realities of this became apparent on a recent visit home to see my mother.

My siblings took charge when our mom needed to transition to assisted living, I live out of state. Coincidentally, my sisters own and work for Silver Connections, a business that helps provide housing and relocation assistance for older adults, or assistance for the elderly to safely remain in their own homes. Staying in place wasn’t an option for my mom any longer. So my mom had expert assistance when she was faced with this major change in her life.

On my last visit home, I was struck with the amount of help my mom needs now and the complete lack of privacy she endures when she uses the toilet. My mom has been fiercely independent her whole life, but now she needs assistance on and off of the toilet. Since I am in the plumbing business I knew of a practical solution. So I got my sisters involved and sent my mom a Toto Washlet. My hope was that this would be something that would help mom feel clean because of the hygiene benefits, provide relief to the caregivers for some of the bathroom duties when Mom is at home and though Mom does not complain about it, give her back more independence with regard to doing her business and keeping it her own business.

Mom had not heard of the Toto Washlet. When she asked for details it became clear to her how useful it could be for her situation and beneficial to her caregivers. The Washlet is a high end product designed by Toto and retails from $880.00 to $1,985.00. It converts your standard toilet to function better than a bidet. It also completely eliminates the need for toilet paper. Mom got the Toto Washlet S300, which retails for $1,364.00 It takes the water supply for the toilet (before it enters the toilet) and pumps it through the Washlet, which creates a warm water spray that is both temperature and pressure adjustable for cleansing. The Washlet needs a power supply to operate the heating units, for the fan that vents away unpleasant odors and provides for the dryer. There are different models with different features. For example, mom’s model has an air deodorizer that ionizes the air and a remote control. All of the models come with a heated seat, great in the middle of a cold night. After using the Washlet you are clean, warm and in a pleasant environment.

In my mom’s case she needs assistance to get up or down from the toilet. She can at least retain some dignity with the most personal part of her routine before her caregiver is called in for assistance. I discussed the applicability of the Washlet for seniors with Morgan Matias, the Toto representative in my area. Morgan said “Helping seniors age in place is a perfect match-up of needs to benefits for the Washlet product.” She continued, “Even in our tell-all reality TV age, it is still mostly taboo to discuss our needs for these most basic functions. The actual use of the Washlet, however; can really give anyone who needs assistance with these daily functions a greater sense of dignity and privacy.”

Being in the plumbing business, I talk about toilets and what goes down them on a daily basis and I also understand that there is some delicacy to this subject and personal habits can be intensely personal. Because my sisters work with older adults they immediately understood the benefits of the product for my mom and for their clients. They helped me with the installation and getting my mom used to the remote control.

I recruited my sister Diane to install the Washlet. Diane reported, “I followed the template and it was easy and quick to install. The controls are easy to use and easy to adjust.” Mom has electrical near her toilet but that may need to be re-routed or added for some bathrooms. The seat comes off with a quick release mechanism for easy cleaning, which is a real plus.

When my mom first tried it the cool dryer air surprised her. She made an easy temperature adjustment and adjusted all of the settings to way she wanted them. After a few weeks of having the Washlet, I asked my mom what she thought about it overall. She said that she really likes it because she has a greater sense of privacy and it was very comfortable. She feels cleaner and the bathroom is more pleasant with fewer odors. The Washlet S300 comes with a remote control for those who want even more privacy. It can be operated from the other side of a closed door. Obviously this takes some coordination with the person on the toilet. But, it also allows you to provide assistance, if needed, and still allows your loved one to retain his/her dignity.

We may all be in a position to need some assistance as we age or if we suffer from an illness or injury. Mom’s caregivers immediately appreciated that the Washlet made their working environment more pleasant and that it took away some of the most unpleasant part of taking care of my Mom’s needs after using the toilet. Since the job of a caregiver is already so intensely personal it works out better for everyone. For me, knowing that I am helping return some independence to my Mom is the greatest reward of all.

Janet O’Dea is owner of Powers Plumbing and sells the Washlet and Toto products in San Diego, California. 

For senior living and relocation assistance contact Pat O’Dea-Evans and Diane O’Dea Silver Connections 
ASilverConnection.com 866-421-8266

For more information on Toto products visit: www.totousa.com

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