Practicality or looks? It’s always a balancing act. But does it need to be?
There’s been a growing emphasis on the role of design in independent living aids, to deliver equipment that can look good, be aspirational, even though it is there for a specific purpose. However, certainly with larger fixtures and fittings, what can get overlooked is the longevity. Something may look stunning, but it will enable independence for years?
After all, the one inevitable in life is that our ability to carry out basic daily tasks, functions- what the professionals call ADLs (‘activities of daily living’)- on our own will deteriorate with time, however good our health at the outset.
Maybe instead of referencing design over practicality, we should expand the brief to design and adaptability- flexible design.
Certainly, in the shower/ wash dry toilet sector, there is now greater choice than ever before, with aesthetics playing a bigger role. It is partly because the very function- that of using water to clean with rather than toilet tissue- is becoming more widely accepted, or at least understood. Once almost unknown outside of the disability sector, wash dry toilets can be found in the homes of pop superstars.
However, whilst most offer a choice of functions, they are only fit for purpose whilst you have the ability to operate them. What happens when you lose the dexterity, flexibility, strength to push a small button?
So a word of advice: think about the longer term, as it is possible to balance looks and practicality- for now and for life.