A critical part of keeping seniors safe is preventing falls in the bathroom. According to the CDC, the risk of slips and falls increases dramatically after age 65. It is important for the elderly and their caretakers to know about the various bathroom aids that are available to help reduce this risk. Using a seat in the shower helps to prevent falls. But, there are lot of options to consider when shopping for a shower chair. Here are the best shower chairs for elderly people to consider along with my recommended options.
Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
When shopping for a shower chair, it is important to know all your options. Some features are key to having a safe shower chair while others are more about design and user choice.
Shower chairs are made from all kinds of materials: wood, plastic, steel, and aluminum.
You will find many options of both styles: shower chairs with backs and shower chairs without backs. But, which style is the best shower chair for the elderly? It depends on the abilities of the senior using it.
The purpose of a back on a shower chair is to support the bather from behind and keep them from falling backwards. So, if the elderly person as any kind of balance issues or gets tired quickly and needs to rest frequently, the best shower chair for them will be one with a back.
However, if they just mainly have leg weakness and cannot stand for long periods of time, a shower chair without a back could be the best choice. When buying bath safety equipment though, it is also important to think of the future. If the elderly person's abilities will decrease over time, it may be best to go ahead and get one with a back up front. Some models have backs that can be put on later when needed.
Shower chairs come with and without arms on them. Arms help in a few different ways. First, arms give the elderly person somewhere to hold on to when getting up and down. They can help stabilize them and prevent a fall. They also give them somewhere to rest their arms if they need a break. Most arms on shower chairs are padded.
A shower chair with arms though can cause problems for elderly people who have to get on the chair from the side. In this case, the arm would be in the way and could keep them from sitting down safely.
You can probably guess the benefit of a padded seat! These are primarily for comfort of course. Think about the materials a shower chair is made of: plastic, wood, aluminum, etc. Do any of these sound particularly comfortable? Nope!
If you choose a shower chair with a padded seat, the best ones are the ones that allow water to drain out easily. If water build up in or under the padding, mold or mildew could develop and need to be cleaned a lot.
Here is a great hack if your seat is not padded: place a few washcloths, a hand towel, or even a folded bath towel on the seat. This will add some cushioning without being concerned about it getting wet.!
Shower chairs with wheels are just that. They are usually an aluminum framed shower chair with a larger seat and casters on the bottoms of the legs. With this type of shower chair, the elderly person can be wheeled in and out of the shower kind of like a wheelchair. Of course, you would need a roll-in type of shower with no tub or edge on it.
Shower chairs with wheels are used a lot by the severely disabled. Because the seats are larger, they offer more support for people who are unable to sit up straight by themselves. I have seen these also used with the elderly after strokes or with neurological diseases like Parkinson's or ALS.
This type of shower chair is also large in size and is used with a roll-in shower. These are also used more with people with severe disabilities who also need toileting help. Most look like a shower chair on wheels with a toilet seat on top with the hole in the middle.
These come with a toilet bucket mounted underneath. The advantage here is the user can take care of their toileting needs. Then, the bucket is removed and disposed of and the person can be cleaned while right in the shower. Shower chairs with wheels and commode openings are best for people who are greatly disabled.
I will bet you had no idea there were was so much to consider when looking for the best shower chair for the elderly person in your life! Hopefully this was helpful and you made a few mental notes.
An example of what is NOT the best shower chair for elderly people:
The following shower chairs are my recommendations for the best shower chairs for elderly people. These best shower chair reviews are based on my own experience and knowledge as someone who works in the durable medical equipment industry.
Not everyone can afford to remodel or to install a walk in tub in their bathroom. This makes shower chairs are a very important bathroom safety product. They can enable an elderly person to still bathe themselves while preventing falls. I hope I have given you all the information you need to choose the best shower chair for the elderly loved one in your life or for yourself.
If you have any questions for me or other suggestions to offer, please leave them below in the comments!
I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.
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