Time for a Bath Chair? Benefits of Shower Chairs (Drawbacks Too!)

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

Shower chairs have both safety benefits like making showers safer and personal benefits like increased independence. But they have some drawbacks too.

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Benefits of Shower Chairs

Summary & Highlights

  • Shower chairs, aka bath chairs or bath seats, offer a variety of benefits for older adults who need mobility assistance. They improve safety, shower accessibility, hygiene, and independence and relieve stress.
  • However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider, such as the possibility that shower chairs may not be covered by insurance, they may not fit in small showers or tubs, and some models may be less stable than others.

Showering can become more complicated with age. But, with the abundance of medical safety equipment on the market, knowing what actually helps an elderly loved one with stability in the bath or shower can feel confusing.

A shower chair can aid someone, with mobility issues, in standing or sitting in the shower. But will a shower chair help you? How do you know which is the best shower chair for you?

Below are some of the benefits of shower chairs, how they can improve bath safety, and a couple of drawbacks.

Safety Benefits of A Shower Chair

There are many ways to use a shower chair to benefit older adults and improve their safety while bathing.

Shower Chairs Reduces Slip and Fall Risk in Shower

The biggest reason to invest in a shower chair is to reduce bathing-related falls.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four Americans aged 65+ falls annually.

Falls often occur in the bathroom, and slippery surfaces due to water are to blame. So, if you’re worried about your elderly parent slipping and falling in the shower, a shower chair can help.

The chair provides a stable and sturdy surface for seniors to sit on while showering – minimizing the risk or slipping on a wet surface or injuries from losing balance.

A Shower Chair Makes Showers More Comfortable

In addition to being safer, shower chairs can also make showers more comfortable. A shower chair can provide much-needed relief if your elderly parent struggles to stand for long periods.

Sitting down in the shower, like a bath, can take some pressure off the feet, ankles, and legs, making them more comfortable and enjoyable – especially for seniors with difficulty standing.

Eases Getting In and Out of the Shower or Tub

Another benefit of shower chairs is that they make getting in and out of the shower or bath tub more manageable, which is especially helpful for seniors who have difficulty lifting their legs or have arthritis.

With a shower chair, your elderly loved one can simply sit down and stand up when ready to get out. This can make showering a much simpler and less daunting task.

benefits of a shower chair mobility problem
A shower chair provides stability and support in the bathroom.

Provides Support for People with Mobility Problems

A shower chair can provide much-needed support for older adults with mobility problems. This support is essential for seniors or elderly people at risk of falling.

This added support helps them feel more stable while showering by making it easier for them to wash their hair and body without standing for long periods.

If you’re worried about your parent slipping and falling or if they have difficulty standing, a shower chair can help.

Personal Benefits of Shower Chairs

The personal benefits of a shower chair even go beyond increasing bath safety by providing support and reducing the chance of an injury. Here are a few to consider.

Less Stress Because You Feel Safer Around Water

The less stress that comes with knowing your elderly parent is safely supported while showering also has added benefits beyond the actual showering.

Shower chairs can lead to a reduction in anxiety and worry, lessen depression, and increase the quality of sleep because they feel safer even though they are surrounded by slick water.

Less stress can have a domino effect of health benefits that increase the quality of life for all those involved.

Makes Bath Hygiene Easier

When showers are something to be dreaded or seen as a hardship, they are often skipped or done less frequently. Shower chairs make showering an easier experience.

Skipping showers can lead to poor hygiene, which can cause many other problems. Helping your loved one look forward to showering (rather than dreading it) is crucial for good hygiene, and a shower chair often makes this possible.

Increased Independence

Doing something as simple as taking a shower without assistance can help increase feelings of self-sufficiency and worth.

Maintaining independence is vital in maintaining good mental health, especially in seniors.

Improved Quality of Life

Feeling secure is a vital component of an elder’s quality of life.

When someone feels safer, has less stress, can maintain good hygiene, and has increased independence, it can often lead to a general feeling of improved well-being.

Considering these benefits often leads to an improved quality of life.

benefits of a shower chair portable
Lightweight shower chairs are portable and affordable.

They Are Portable

One of the best things about lightweight shower chairs is that they are relatively inexpensive and portable, so take them with you on your travel to be used in any bathroom.

Portability is crucial for those who need to take their shower chair with them while vacationing or visiting family and friends.

They Are Generally Affordable

Another significant benefit of shower chairs is the relatively low price of buying one. Generally speaking, they are affordable, even for older adults on a budget. You can find various chairs to choose from, and they don’t have to break the bank.

Lots of Design Options

There are many different design options to choose from when it comes to choosing a bath chair. This variety means that you can get the best chair for your needs. There are various colors and styles to choose from, so you can find one that matches your bathroom decor.

RELATED: Shower Chairs vs. Transfer Benches: What’s the Difference?

Potential Drawbacks of Shower Chairs

As good as shower chairs can be, there are some potential drawbacks. It’s important to recognize these ahead of time before making a purchase.

May Not Be Covered by Insurance

One potential drawback is that shower chairs may not be covered by insurance. Medicare, in particular, does not cover shower chairs or most bathroom equipment for that matter. So, you may have to pay for the chair yourself.

May Not Fit in Small Tubs or Showers

Size matters, and most shower chairs won’t fit into every tub or shower setup – especially ones that are too small.

Some Are Less Stable Than Others

There are huge differences between the quality levels of shower chairs.

Shower chairs offer many benefits to those who use them. They can help increase safety, reduce stress, improve hygiene, and increase independence.

If you’re looking for a way to make a bath or shower safer and more comfortable for your elderly parent, a shower chair may be the perfect solution.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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