How long would you expect assistive tech to last?
How long would you expect a piece of technology to last? In Mandy de la Mare’s case, it’s decades.
The “tech” in question is her Closomat shower (wash & dry) toilet. Looking like, and capable of being used as a conventional WC, the Closomat has integrated automatic douching and drying. The user does not have to wipe clean (or be wiped clean). “I’ve had a Closomat for 42 years and am only on my second one!” she says. “I only replaced the first one when I moved in 2003 after 30 years, and thought then that I had better upgrade to a new one.”
Mandy’s replacement Closomat was installed in the main upstairs bathroom of her new home, in Kingswood, Bristol. Mandy, who is thalidomide, blind with no arms, has since had an extension with en-suite wetroom, into which she had an alternative shower toilet and a Closomat ApreShower body drier, and the Clos-O-Mat was moved downstairs into a cloakroom to save me going up and down stairs.
“With the best will in the world, the other shower toilet is more attractive in my opinion, and I didn’t want my bathroom to look clinical, which is why I chose it. I still prefer the Closomat, it gives a better clean. I’m glad that the Closomat is downstairs, as that’s the toilet I use most,” she observes.
“And it is easier for me to operate: I chose the optional touch sensitive switch, so I can operate the Closomat just by a little pressure on the pad with my foot. The rest of the family use the Closomat too, only they choose not to take advantage of the wash and dry features.”