The increasing use of mobility bathrooms is good news for those who have them installed. The addition of mobility baths and showers, modified toilet facilities and other aids can greatly increase quality of life for those who need it, not least by promoting independent living and enabling people to live longer in their homes.
It should come as no surprise that more people need such aids now, as the UK has an ageing population. Indeed, the extent to which this has happened over the last decade will become apparent on June 28th, when the first comprehensive set of 2021 Census data is released. What is not in doubt is it will show Britain has an older population than a decade ago.
However, it is not just old age that leads to people needing mobility help. This is also the case for disability and the kind of causes that have led to people needing adjusted bathrooms, from genetic diseases through to accidents and illnesses.
The latter element may, however, be more common now and going forward due to the impact of Long Covid.
As the NHS notes, the effects of Long Covid are many and varied, with a range of severity. Some of these will not necessarily amount to disability, such as having persistent tummy trouble or feeling depressed. But others can include extreme fatigue, which is a highly debilitating condition that can restrict all kinds of activity.
Indeed, for some, even people who had hitherto been very active, simple tasks like climbing the stairs can be exhausting, as can climbing into a bath and out again, or standing in the shower for any prolonged period of time.
All that means that for some people, Long Covid might create a reason for needing a mobility bathroom, notwithstanding the fact that as of yet, nobody can be sure how long the condition will last or whether new treatments might emerge to tackle it.
The good news, relatively speaking, is that the now dominant Omicron strains of the virus, as well as being generally less severe, do appear to pose a lower risk of causing Long Covid. Research by King’s College London, using data from the ZOE Covid Data study, has found the rate of Long Covid is between 20 and 50 per cent lower, depending on age and vaccination status.
It found that while 10.8 per cent of the Delta strain cases in the study led to Long Covid, the figure was just 4.4 per cent for Omicron. Nonetheless, with the latter being so widespread and easier to catch, there may be many people who are currently healthy and have not yet had Covid who will suffer Long Covid in the future.
This may be a gloomy prognosis, but given the realities of an ageing society, the fact is that adjustable bathrooms may be increasingly necessary anyway to enable more people to live in their own homes for longer. The question is how many of those people might need them at a younger age as a consequence of Covid.