Using disabled toilets at Garden Centres

Hi all. Mum is still only able to transfer from bed or chair to a commode with a frame and at least one person due to frailty and balance (and poor judgement about her abilities - she feels she can do things that she can’t).

She’s in hospital at the moment following a chest infection and is going to intermediate care soon. This means I actually have time to post! I’m allowed to visit hospital once a day but apart from that I am getting some respite while she’s not here.

Assuming she is the same mobility wise after intermediate care, does anyone have any experience of using Garden Centre (or any other) disabled toilets with a person who needs this level of assistance? I am thinking I could take the frame and help mum transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet. We can’t do this at home as there are steps to the downstairs toilet and no space for a carer to help her so she uses a commode.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Hello Jean

From m experience with my Mum Disabled toilets are usually quite large - plenty of room for wheelchair and two people. The toilet usually has “moveable” arms either side that can be lifted up if not needed or pulled down into place if the person in the wheelchair needs extra support.

I found that (after a bit of manoeuvring I could get Mum’s chair either alongside the toilet or positioned in front of the toilet and then she could hold onto the “arms” with me supporting her from behind to transfer to the toilet. Could you perhaps visit the garden centre whilst she is not with you and check out their’s ? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind you checking them out if you explain the problem.

Thanks Susieq, I think I probably could manage, I sometimes use the disabled toilets myself due to an invisible disability but wanted to see if anyone could give me advice, as you have done! I will have to pick the right day when mum isn’t too wobbly, but would love to get her to the garden centre in a wheelchair taxi. I just know the toilet will be an issue because it’s every hour or even less that mum “needs” to go.

I do think she would manage with the arms but might see about taking a folding frame as well. it’s really not so different to transferring to the commode after all.

you need to apply for a ‘radar’ key as many disabled toilets are under the radar key scheme. I use these toilets with S as he is a young man and I can’t send him in the gents on his own as he is vulnerable. As Susie says they are usually a decent size.

Enjoy your extra ‘me’ time.


Thanks Melly! Do I ask the GP for a radar key? I never bothered for myself but was getting to the point where I needed to.



Thanks Melly!