Lack of Public Toilets in Wales Leaves Older People Dehydrated and Homebound

Lack of public toilets in Wales forces older residents to limit fluid intake and restrict outings, raising health concerns. The government is urged to address this basic human right.

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Lack of Public Toilets in Wales Leaves Older People Dehydrated and Homebound

Lack of Public Toilets in Wales Leaves Older People Dehydrated and Homebound

Older people in Wales are intentionally dehydrating themselves or avoiding leaving their homes due to a lack of accessible public toilets since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gareth Parsons, the chairman of the Wales Senior Forum. Many public restrooms across Wales have shut down or become less accessible in recent years.

Parsons has called on the Welsh government to provide specific funding for public toilets. While the government has introduced legislation to improve accessibility, local authorities in Wales are not statutorily required to provide public restroom facilities. This has led several councils to close toilets due to issues like vandalism and lack of funding.

Why this matters: The shortage of public toilets is a significant health concern, especially for older individuals and those with medical conditions that require frequent restroom access. It is impacting the well-being and mobility of Wales' senior population, limiting their ability to engage in daily activities and social interactions outside the home.

Older residents like Ken Hunt and Martin Carroll have expressed difficulties in finding available toilets when they need to go out, leading them to change their behavior to avoid the issue. "I don't drink as much as I should because I'm worried about needing the toilet when I go out," Hunt said. Carroll noted, "If I go out, I tend to go to places I know have got toilets."

The lack of comprehensive data on the number and locations of public toilets across Wales compounds the problem. The Welsh government has acknowledged the challenges faced by local authorities in maintaining these essential services without a dedicated funding stream.

Parsons emphasized the pressing need for government action, stating, "It's a basic human right, to have access to toilets, and it's something that the Welsh government needs to take seriously." He stressed that the current situation is a significant issue, particularly for people with conditions like incontinence, urgency, and prostate problems that necessitate frequent toilet access.

Key Takeaways

  • Older people in Wales avoid leaving home due to lack of public toilets.
  • Many public restrooms in Wales have shut down or become less accessible.
  • The shortage of public toilets is a significant health concern for the elderly.
  • Older residents change behavior to avoid needing public toilets when out.
  • The Welsh government is urged to provide funding for public toilet facilities.