When elderly people begin having trouble with bathing, the first instinct is to find a shower chair or bath seat. These types of bathroom aids are important for elderly people to prevent falls. But there is another piece of bathroom safety equipment you should also consider: the shower head.
Having the right shower head is important for reducing the chance of falls while in the shower. Plus, installing one is a quick and easy way to make your shower a safer place.
So, here is my guide on choosing the best handheld shower heads for elderly people and seniors who have difficulty bathing safely.
Video Guide: Handheld Shower Heads for Seniors and the Elderly
Reviews: Best Hand Held Shower Heads for Seniors
Here are my specific recommendations for the best shower heads for seniors and the elderly.
Vive Health Handheld Shower Head
The Vive Health Handheld Shower Head is my favorite shower head for older adults because it checks off all the boxes of my recommended features.
Here’s a quick video showing me installing and using the Vive Handheld Showerhead:
First, it has a super-long hose – 6.5 feet, to be exact. This longer tubing length lets you move the shower head where you need to while remaining in place. You won’t have to twist or contort your body to get it to reach the hose. The hose is guaranteed tangle-free, too, reducing the chance of tripping on it! That could reduce the chance of a fall.
Second, it has a high-pressure spray, so you will actually feel like you are getting clean. But, it’s also adjustable with five shower patterns that range from bubble to saturating to massaging. Some older folks have more sensitive skin so they can find a pressure that works best for them.
Third, it has a pause button. This button stops the water flow for people concerned about wasting water. This is also useful for getting the temperature just right before stepping into the shower. Just set the temp and hit the pause button.
Then, get in. When you are ready, hit it again to release the water at your perfect setting!
Finally, installation is easy too. It comes with everything you need – even the Teflon tape. For most installations, you simply unscrew the existing shower head, screw in the enclosed holder, then screw on the shower head and hose. It should work with nearly any shower.
You even get a lifetime guarantee on it!
Moen Home Care Hand Held Shower (DN8001CH)
This is one of the best handheld shower heads with a long hose for people with arthritis. The grip is soft and textured, making it easy to hold onto without needing to squeeze it. It also has a built-in strap that keeps the elderly person from dropping it. This could prevent a fall!
It has a long 84-inch hose (which comes out to about 7 feet) for maximum movement without any tangles or kinks. The on/off switch is easy to reach, located on the head itself, and easy to use with just a one-touch operation. It weighs about 1.6 pounds, so it’s a little heavier than the other option but still light enough for arthritic hands to handle effectively and without pain.
Hydroluxe Full-Chrome 24 Function Shower Head
Some seniors and elderly adults may find it beneficial to get a 2-in-1 shower head/ handheld shower head combination product like this one. Here the advantage is that you get two streams of water to ensure you’re entirely clean, but you get the independence and control of the handheld shower head and the feel of a normal one.
This shower head has five flow settings: wide rain, power massage, stay warm mist, eco rain, and pause mode. It also has the option only to spray the stationary shower head or handheld component if you don’t want two streams at once. Furthermore, the chrome face of this shower head is 4 inches wide, which is broader than usual.
Most notably, the Hydroluxe also features a 3-zone click lever dial, which is easy enough for senior hands to operate, and a patented 3-way diverter dial for the various settings of the shower heads. The overhead bracket that holds the two shower heads is also adjustable to any angle, and there is a 5-foot-long flexible stainless steel hose.
You can install this in a senior’s home tool-free, especially since your purchase comes with plumber’s tape, but there is also an option to add in professional installation.
AquaSense 3 Setting Handheld Shower Head
This is the best choice for a general handheld shower head for an elderly person because it checks off every box on my list and is affordable too. I love that it has an on/off switch control at the base of the handle for easy access, and a simple rotating motion operates it.
It also has 80 inches of kink and tangle-free tubing to prevent any potential falls and only weighs a little over a pound. While this seems like a lot, it should be light enough for people with arthritis to handle. The whole unit is corrosion-resistant as well.
Finally, it has three spray head patterns for adjustable and customizable water pressure to protect seniors’ sensitive skin. With tool-free assembly and a simple white design, this shower head is easy to set up in any bathroom.
I also like this handheld shower head, but it has a few small issues. It is best used for a high functioning senior with good hand function. The on/off switch is located in the right place but small in size.
Even better, the tubing stretches to 7 feet long (from 5 feet), but this could be difficult for an elderly person who is weak. Also, the motion needed to stretch could potentially knock them off balance too.
On the other hand, it does have a large number of pressure settings (7 to be exact) and only weighs one pound. You can also install it easily without any tools, which is very handy for seniors living alone.
Another great shower head that’s a bit wider than the others on this recommended list is the Aquadance high-pressure shower head. Its head is about 4 inches wide for a full shower experience.
It also has six settings, including power rain, pulsating massage, power mist, rain massage, rain mist, and pause mode, with an easy-to-turn click lever dial. Due to these features, this shower is versatile and easy to operate.
This one can also be used as a hands-free overhead mounted shower head with an easy-to-adjust angle for shorter or taller seniors. It has a flexible, reinforced 5-foot long stainless steel hose and rub-clean jets that allow for easy cleaning and no lime buildup.
BONUS TIP: Suction Cup Shower Head Mount
This product is a great way to mount the shower head in a safe showering location for the elderly person. It uses a suction system to mount the shower head anywhere in the shower. Mount it in a place where they will not have to stretch or bend over to get to the shower head. As a result, the shower head will always be close and may prevent an injury.
There are a few drawbacks, however. This product does not suction to drywall and only works when it is applied to smooth, dry, non-porous surfaces. This shouldn’t be an issue if your shower is like most others (glazed ceramic tiles, plastic, or glass surfaces).
When placing the suction cup on tile, the tile square needs to be at least 4 inches by 4 inches in area to work properly. If it is placed over grout lines, this allows air to move underneath the suction and compromise its hold on the tile.
However, the good news is that it can be relocated easily, so make sure to test it in a few different areas to ensure it’s secure and comfortable for continued use in your seniors’ shower.
Shower Heads for Handicapped Adults
Of course, many of these shower heads are also helpful for handicapped or disabled adults to have in their showers. They’re also great to use in conjunction with other safe bathroom accessories like non-slip bath mats, shower chairs, handrails, and even a good pair of non-slip shower shoes. Bathing can be a dangerous experience as we age, so having any sort of help in the shower is recommended.
Any of the above shower heads also work well for bathing handicapped adults or the disabled. Take a look and see if one would work for you.
Why is the Handheld Shower Head So Important to Senior Safety?
Let’s put ourselves in the bath slippers of an elderly person and think through the process of a seated shower.
- First, the bather turns on the water and sets the proper temperature.
- Then, the elderly person has to get over the tub’s edge safely. This is usually done by holding on to grip bars if the person walks ok. If not, transfer benches are used to get safely over the tub edge.
- Next, the bather sits on the bath seat to get ready to bathe. Or, if they use a transfer bench, they are already seated.
- Now, they adjust the shower head so that the water is hitting them properly.
See the problem?
To move the shower head, the elderly person must stand back up if it is mounted above them. On the other hand, they may have to lean forward to switch the control if they have the wrong style of handheld shower head. As a result, these movements are a fall waiting to happen!
Buying Guide: Hand Held Shower Heads for the Elderly
Handheld shower heads are an important part of my shower safety tips for seniors and the elderly. They also allow them to remain independent in their most private moments too.
Here’s how to find the best handheld shower head for seniors and the elderly.
The Problems with Regular Handheld Shower Heads
The standard handheld shower head that you buy at your local big box store is not the best choice for elderly people. While they may be cheaper, these shower heads have a few key flaws in common:
- The tubing is too short. Think about the size of a standard tub. The shower head must reach from the pipe at the top of the shower to where the bather is seated. More importantly, there should also be enough slack to allow free movement around to shower the entire body.
- The diverter is in the wrong place. The button that diverts the water to the handheld shower is often out of reach. It is usually where the shower head connects to the output pipe at the top of the shower. Tub spigot diverters are difficult for the elderly to reach also without leaning.
OK, Then, What Should You Look For?
To make the bathtub and shower as safe as possible for an elderly person, look for a handheld shower head that corrects the flaws above.
Checklist for the Best Handheld Shower Head for the Elderly:
- Long Hose – I recommend one with at least 7 feet of hose to prevent leaning and excessive movement while showering. A shower head with long hoses will allow the senior to have a wide range of motion and movement without having to walk around too much and potentially slip.
- Kink-free Hose – The hose should not kink up and get tangled. This becomes a tripping hazard if it gets bunched up around the feet of an elderly person. Also, the bather may feel compelled to lean over and untangle it, which will cause a fall.
- Easy Operation – Look for a diverter switch that is located on the shower head itself. Find one that is easy to push on and off. This is very important for seniors with arthritic hands. Handheld shower heads often cause joint pain for those folks. This also makes it easier to reach instead of bending down in the tub to switch the operation.
- Variable Sprays – Since some elderly people have sensitive, thin skin. Harsher water pressure can be very painful and even crack the skin. Controlling how hard the water sprays is very beneficial for elderly folks because they can get a gentler stream out of it.
- Lightweight – Lightweight handheld shower heads are the best kind for older people. This goes back to the sensitive arthritic hands issue. Plastic shower heads are usually lighter, so opt for those instead of heavier metal ones.
How to Install Handheld Showers
A handheld shower head can usually be installed easily and quickly on your existing plumbing and shower head connection. All that is needed is a wrench and some plumbers tape. Here is a video that walks you through it step by step:
Summary and Recommendations
It is important to have the right handheld shower head for elderly people and seniors because it makes a big difference in their safety. These simple little products reduce the chance of a fall in the bath or shower due to their convenience and easy-to-operate features.
RELATED GUIDE: The Best Bathtub Lifts for Seniors
But, they should have a few critical features to be safe. Choosing the best shower heads will leave seniors clean and safe whether they are being used in a standard tub or a walk-in tub.
What has been your experience with elderly bathroom safety? Do you use a particularly great shower head that’s not mentioned above? Please share below!