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10 Best Bathroom Safety Products for the Elderly (Ranked by an Industry Expert!)

Summary (TL;DR):

Before buying this type of equipment, think about what your needs are. Are you having trouble using the toilet? Are showers becoming more difficult? Do you miss taking a bath? Are arthritis and weakness affecting your ability to care for yourself? You should discuss your needs and choices with your doctor too.

The bathroom is a really scary place for a senior who is losing his or her independence.

It’s an even scarier place to their loved ones who fear accidents and falls. Statistically, the elderly are most likely to injure themselves in the bathroom.

However, the right tools and devices make the bathroom a safer place. But with so many options, how do you choose?

Below are some must have bathroom safety products for the elderly that can increase and even restore your independence. Many of these products I recommend daily at the medical equipment store where I work!

Where in the Bathroom Do You Need the Most Help?

There are varying degrees of help that the elderly need in the bathroom.

First, you might have a little trouble getting up and down from the toilet.

Then, maybe you need someone’s help to take a shower.

Sometimes even, your need progresses and what works one day may not work the next.

I recommend that you discuss the use of any bathroom equipment with your doctor or therapist. They know your individual medical situation and can help with your decision.

Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS

1. Getting In and Out of The Shower and Tub

When you having balance or joint problem in their legs, stepping over the edge of a standard or garden tub is a real problem.

If lifting your leg is difficult and it catches on the edge of the tub, a fall could easily happen. You might not have a place to brace yourself either.

In addition to an injury, maybe you worry about having an accident in the bathroom and someone having to help you while naked and in a delicate position.

There are many options that assist you with getting in and out of the shower and tub more safely:

  • Grab bars can help a senior stabilize them self while they raise their leg over the tub edge. These bars are often mounted to walls and offer maximum security when installed correctly.
  • Clamp-on tub bars are also available that mount to the tub edge.
  • Suction cup grab bars are now also an option to drilling holes in your shower.
  • Permanent options like walk in tubs are very helpful.
  • Tub transfer benches allow you to slide in and out from a seated position.
using shower shoes for elderly to reduce falls

2. Standing Long Enough to Take a Shower

Standing to take a shower is very dangerous for some elderly because of weakness or poor balance.

A few options that help with getting in and out of the tub also help with showering more safely as well:

  • Grab bars are used as a base of support if the elderly patient has minimal difficulty standing.
  • The transfer bench discussed above is also usable as a shower seat.
  • Shower chairs are seats that are usually plastic that you can place in the shower or tub and sit on while showering. Shower chairs come in many options from plain, small benches to elaborate thrones with backs, arms, and cushions.

Once a safe position for showering is set, consider these ideas too:

  • Non-slip bathtub mats are necessary to prevent slips and falls from a wet tub surface.
  • Handheld shower heads with long tubing are very important. These allow the senior to shower without having to reach or stretch. The best ones have easy controls and long, tangle free tubing.

3. Wanting to Take a REAL bath?

Once you begin having physical difficulties, taking a submerged bath seems impossible.

Baths have great benefits too like soaking tired muscles and achy joints and creating a general state of relaxation.

But, you can still can benefit from a bath too! And, bath lifts can help.

A bath lift slowly lowers you into a tub full of water. Then, it raises you up again at the touch of a button. Most have safety features too to prevent you from getting stuck in a tub full of cold water.

See some of my recommended bathtub lifts below.

elderly woman getting up from her tall toilet

4. Getting off and on a toilet

Getting up and down from the toilet seat requires good balance and leg strength. You need good leg strength to stand up from the seated position. But, you also need great balance to keep from falling forward or to the side.

To help you with this, consider the following bathroom aids

  • Raised toilet seats clamp right onto the toilet bowl giving you a higher seat. They also come with and without arms depending on what you need.
  • Toilet safety rails mount to the toilet too. They help by giving you nice, high arms that make it easier to push up from. Sitting is easier too because you can use them to steady yourself.
  • Combine a raised toilet seat with toilet rails if you have a lot of trouble using the toilet.
  • 3 in 1 commodes, aka bedside commodes or potty chairs, are extremely helpful too. While they are usually used in the bedroom, you can use them over toilet seats too. Just adjust the legs to the height you need, remove the bucket underneath, and then straddle it right over your toilet.

5. Cleaning Up After Toileting

Cleaning yourself up after using the toilet might cause you pain. Or, it might be nearly impossible to do at all.

Reaching around with an arthritic shoulder or elbow is painful. Maintaining your balance while cleaning could risk a fall.

But there are several product options that can help here too. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Wet wipes are often the simplest option. They require less force than toilet paper. So, they are easier and quicker to use.
  • Toilet safety rails can help here too. They give you a place to hold on to and steady yourself while wiping.
  • Wiping aids are also available. These devices are basically curved wands that hold toilet paper at one end. You use the wand like an extension of your hand for cleaning yourself.
  • Bidets are also extremely helpful too. And, the great news, is you don’t have to go through the hassle of installing one. There are several devices out there that clip right onto the toilet in just minutes.
woman opening a narrow bathroom door

My 10 Must Have Elderly Bathroom Safety Products

Ok, if you asked me what my top recommended bath safety products are, here you go. Each of these devices I have used and recommend to my own patients based on their needs.

Features

  • Easily adjust height in 1/2" increments without the use of tools; Visible height indicator makes adjustments quick and easy
  • Enhanced comfort seat fits all shapes and sizes
  • Tool-Free removal of back, legs, and arms for easy storage and portability
  • Lightweight design has large stable legs with soft non-slip feet
  • Seat Dimensions: 16.5"(D) x 21.75"(W) x 16-20.5" (H); Outside Legs: 15.5"(D) x 17"(W); Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.Primary Product Material: Plastic

Shower chairs have been around for years and there are so many options to choose from. But, I recommend a shower chair with back and arms for safety and comfort. This model from Drive Medical is my favorite.

There are several reasons why:
  • This shower chair has a back and arms for support and safety.
  • You can assemble it without tools.
  • Installation is easy. Just pop on the legs, adjust them to the height you need, and sit it in your shower or bath. That’s it!
  • It’s lightweight and portable. You can quickly disassemble it and throw it in the trunk for a quick road trip.
  • Very little cleaning is required. Just wipe it down from time to time.
  • It fits a wide variety of users: The seat dimensions are 21-3/4″ wide by 16-1/2″ deep. The seat height even adjusts from 16″ to 20-1/2″. Plus, the weight limit is 350 lbs.

It isn’t the cheapest shower chair you’ll find, but I think it has the best value because of all the important features it includes.

Want to learn more about shower chairs? Click here to read my guide to the best shower chairs.

Features

  • Medline Bathtub Grab Bar has a step-through clamp on design that provides unobstructed entry and exit path for better hand positioning to assit
  • Bath tub rail provides stability getting in and out of the tub | Great for elderly, seniors or after surgery
  • Stainless steel components with rubber-lined pads protect walls of bath tub
  • Safety handle adjust to fit tubs 2.75 - 6.25 inches
  • Bathtub assist rail features tool-free installation

Can you stand for a shower but getting over the tub edge is difficult or unsafe?. The Medline Bathtub Grab Bar can help with this problem.

I love that it locks securely to the tub edge without damaging the tub. No permanent installation is required! And, you get a secure handle to hold onto while entering and exiting the tub without having to drill into your walls.

Why I recommend this model specifically:
  • Easy to install! Simply clamp the bar onto your tub edge. It uses rubber lined pads so that it doesn’t damage the tub surface. Just check it every now and then to make sure it is still tight.
  • Easy to clean! It is made of PVC coated steel. So, it won’t rust and just needs an occasional wipe down.
  • Easy to use! Just hold onto the 6″ handle as you step in and out of the tub. This helps you balance yourself and makes you more stable.

A product like this is best if you just need some help getting over the tub edge. If you have difficulty standing for a shower, this won’t be as helpful

Features

  • - PROFESSIONAL GRADE sliding transfer bench, bath and shower chair. Effortless sliding and pivoting for safe, easy transfers in and out of the tub. Platinum Health products are used in thousands of hospitals, nursing homes and in private homes by customers who value quality, safety, convenience and comfort over price. Note: OPTIONAL LEG EXTENSION KITS AND HORIZONTAL TRAVEL EXTENSION KITS ALSO AVAILABLE.
  • -PADDED SEAT, BACK AND ARMRESTS. No more cold, slippery, hard plastic parts like old-style bath chairs; the Carousel provides warm to the touch, comfortable, slip resistant padding on all main components. The medical-grade, closed-cell molded polyurethane padding will not absorb any water and is easy to clean and disinfect. Quick TOOLS-LESS assembly in less than 5 minutes.
  • -SWIVEL-SEAT SPACE SAVING DESIGN. Not only is the swivel seat safer, easier to use and more comfortable than a standard fixed seat, this design means that the chair protrudes into the room much less than a traditional transfer bench. More convenient for the user, and more convenient for others that don’t require use of the chair since the free space in the bathroom is much greater.
  • -ROBUST, PIVOTING ARM RESTS. The padded arm rests can be raised and lowered and locked into place. Unlike standard chairs with no armrests, the robust armrests on the Carousel can be used as leverage points to help the user into and out of the chair. They also provide important additional physical and psychological support against slips and falls and fear of slips and falls.
  • -HI CONTRAST COLOR FOR SAFETY. Our unique HI-VIEW BLUE color makes the key parts of the chair much easier to see by vision impaired and/or dementia afflicted users. Rather than blending in with the background like old-style white benches, the blue contrast color helps users distinguish the chair from its surroundings and significantly reduces slips, trips and falls- the leading cause of death by injury in people over 65.

A sliding bath and shower chair truly offers you the most secure and safe way to enter the tub and shower.

Transfer benches allow you to remain seated during the entire bathing process – from getting in the tub to getting out. No need for scooting, shifting, or standing. This device does all the work for you.

Here’s why a sliding transfer bench is better than a standard shower chair:

  • Vision problems? The brightly colored seat is easier to see than a white shower seat.
  • The padded seat, back and arms lower the risk of skin tears and breakdown.
  • Pivoting armrests make transfers easier because the arms move out of the way.
  • Because the seat slides, you won’t have to scoot across the seat. This scooting motion can cause skin tears in elderly people because of their frail “onion” skin. A sliding seat nearly eliminates the chance of injury.
  • The swiveling seat is easier get on and off of. That way you can find the safest and easiest place to get on the bench.
  • A seatbelt is included!
  • Tool free assembly for easy installation. Breaks down for travel too!

The Carousel Sliding Bath and Shower Chair is a premium product and may not be in everyone’s budget. But you should still consider it for anyone needing help getting out of the shower especially if they are at risk for skin problems.

I now have an entire guide on tub transfer benches that you can read by clicking here.

Features

  • HUNDREDS OF SUCTION CUPS!! Our antibacterial bath and shower mats feature 324 Gorilla Grip suction cups that help hold in place on smooth, clean surfaces. This bath mat is a great choice for the home, gym, spa and more!
  • LARGER SIZE and FEATURES HOLES: Our extra large and generously sized mat is 35 x 16 inch and provides excellent coverage. Many other mats are smaller leaving areas of your tub exposed. And while other mats are solid creating a moist underside (which can accelerate mold growth), our mat features small holes throughout to allow water to circulate.
  • ANTI-BACTERIAL: Antibacterial and Mildew Resistant, BPA Free, Non-Toxic, Phthalate free, Latex Free, No Toxic Smell. Plus, all of our mats come with a 10-Year No Questions Asked Warranty. If you are at all unsatisfied with your product, please contact us (through Amazon if past the standard return window) and we will be happy to assist you. At the end of the day we want our customers to be happy!
  • MACHINE WASHABLE: Our durable mat is machine-washable to facilitate hassle-free maintenance and uphold its fresh appearance. We highly recommend that you wash your mat prior to use. Simply throw the mat in your washing machine on cold with gentle detergent (no bleach) and air dry. We recommend rinsing and drying your bath mat periodically to remove oily and slippery buildup that may occur from various soaps and hair products.
  • !WARNING: Prevent Falls: Secure suction cups before each use. Mat will only attach to clean, smooth surface. NOT FOR USE ON TEXTURED, TILED, OR NON-SMOOTH SURFACES. Do not use bath oils - may cause slipping.

A bath mat is an inexpensive but important safety tool. Many slips and falls happen in showers among both the young and the elderly because a bath mat was not used. A simple non-slip bathtub mat can make a huge difference in your bathroom safety.

Here is why I recommend this one:
  • The top surface is textured and allows you to move while reducing your risk of a fall.
  • The entire under surface is covered with suction cups to stay safely in place.
  • It’s larger than most. The 16″ X 38″ size gives you more room to move without worrying about your feet leaving the mat.
  • This mat is anti-bacterial and resists the growth of mold and mildew and it looks cleaner longer.
  • It’s machine washable and easy to keep clean.

This mat has every feature I look for when advising my senior patients on bathroom safety. While it may not be as “stylish” as some other non-slip bathtub mats, it is clear and won’t clash with any other bathroom decor. But it is safe and functional!

Check out more bath mat options by clicking here.

Features

  • SIMPLE TOOL-FREE INSTALLATION: Grab bar is easy to install or remove from the tub or shower walls with locking latches to secure bar in place. For additional convenience, each latch has a color indicator for ensuring a safe and secure installation. A green display means the grab bar is secure and ready for use. Red will be displayed if the seal is not airtight. Please ensure bar will work on your intended surface before purchase.
  • COMFORTABLE, NON SLIP GRIP: Textured, contoured rubber provides a comfortable non slip grip, perfect for the injured, elderly and toddlers. The underside of the handle features molded finger grips for additional safety and security. Space created by gently curving from the wall or tub is a generous 3.25” leaving ample room for fingers to grasp the handle securely.
  • EASY TO ADJUST POSITION ON TUB OR SHOWER: Lift tabs allow the grab bar to be repositioned easily. Adjust the height on the shower wall, change to the side of the tub and even take it with you when traveling for a safe bath or shower anywhere. The grab bar will not harm surfaces when installed and used properly.
  • STURDY AND SECURE: Strong suction cup design works on any non-porous, flat surface, including tile, glass, acrylic and metal. Supporting up to 300 pounds, the grab bar provides additional stability when entering and exiting the tub or shower for a safe and comfortable experience.
  • VIVE GUARANTEE: 60 day unconditional guarantee so you can purchase now with confidence.

Suction cup grab bars install easily on any flat firm surface without damaging it. This is really important if you have a tiled or fiberglass shower where the last thing you want is permanent holes.

You might have doubts about their safety though. In my experience, they are very safe if installed properly by following the manufacturer directions.

However, not all suction cup grab bars are the same. After a lot of research, I found that this model from Vive is the highest rated with great user satisfaction.

For safe use, these must be installed on SECURE, flat, non-porous surfaces like ceramic tile (not on grout lines), glass (not on the shower door), and fiberglass and acrylic tub surrounds. As always, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. For the best suction, always make sure the surface is clean and dry before installing any suction grab bar.

Other important features:
  • Color indicator tells you if the grab bar is stuck to the wall properly with a simple green is good, red means no system.
  • Easily re-positioned for portability or using in multiple areas of the shower if your condition changes
  • Very sturdy and supports 300 lbs.
  • Comfortable grip with soft rubber handles
  • 2 sizes to choose from: 12″ and 16″

Features

  • Handheld Shower Heads by AquaSense provide increased bathing safety, independence and comfort while sitting or standing
  • This shower head has 3 spray settings that can be activated by an easy-to-turn spray dial, providing a narrow, wide or standard spray
  • Ultra-long 80 inch stainless steel, tangle-free hose allows you to shower comfortably when sitting or standing
  • Simple on/off rotating control knob at the base of the handle provides easy water flow control at your finger tips
  • The AquaSense Handheld Shower Head is corrosion resistant, includes a convenient shower hook and simplifies installation with easy, tool-free assembly

Another important product to consider is your shower head.

Let’s think through how you would shower from a seated position. First, reaching up to the shower head is impossible without stretching. Second, you are constantly hit in the face or the water misses you completely. So, you try to reach or stretch to adjust the water flow – risking a fall.

A handheld shower head with long hose easily solves this problem.

And, here’s my favorite one:
  • Extra-long hose. The 7 feet long hose is durable and long lasting. It is also tangle free to reduce the chance of you tripping!
  • 3 Spray settings. You can have a standard, narrow or wide spray by turning the dial. This saves water and reduces spraying outside the tub area. Wet floors = higher risk of falling.
  • On/Off Switch is located at the handle base so you don’t have to stand to turn it on or off.

Not all of them are safe for the elderly users though. You want one with a long but tangle free hose and simple controls on the handle.

See more of my recommended shower heads in this guide.

Features

  • The Whisper Bath Lift is designed to assist individuals while entering, exiting and enjoying a bath with renewed independence
  • Tool free, two piece bath lift construction is easy to assemble and install, with sleek folding capability for transportation and storage
  • 4 quick release suction cups ensure anti slip security on the bathtub floor, while a padded seat and backrest provide exceptional comfort
  • Rise, lower, and recline the backrest of the bath lift up to 50 degrees with a water tight hand control featuring bright, easily accessible buttons
  • Seat Dimensions: 16.54"(D) x 13.7"(W) x 2.3" 18.8"(H); Back of Chair Height: 25.1"; Base Width: 22"; Backrest Recline: 140 Deg; Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

Do you prefer a bath over a shower? Or, do you miss an occasional hot soak? Consider a bath lift!

Bath lifts gently lower you into the tub water by power. They use a pendant control similar to a hospital bed control. Once you finish bathing, push a button and you rise back to the tub edge!

Bath lifts are a great way to safely restore independence with submersion baths.

Here is why I recommend this one:
  • Lots of safety controls including waterproof electronics, a floating remote control, and the bath won’t lower you if it doesn’t have the power to come back up.
  • Rechargeable battery with warning indicator for continuous operation
  • Easy tool-less assembly and install with suction cups that hold the lift in place.
  • Disassembles quickly and easily for travel.
  • Reclining backrest lets you lay back and enjoy a relaxing bath.
  • Transfer flaps that flop over the tub edge for seniors who need to slide from a wheelchair
  • Fits standard and garden style tubs.

Yes, bath lifts are expensive, but I’ve seen it make a huge impact. If you enjoy a good, hot, soaking bath for relaxing tight muscles and achy joints, it just might become your favorite thing in the house!

Features

  • Handles are adjustable and rotate back to allow a wide range of comfortable and secure positions
  • Toilet rail with closed cell foam armrests provide a comfortable, secure grip | Great for elderly or adults post surgery
  • Toilet safety frame adjusts in height from 26 to 31 inches to accommodate standard or elevated toilet seats | tool free assembly
  • Easy to clean aluminum frame mounts securely onto bowl with adjustable bracket 18 to 24 inches
  • Width adjustment between armrests: 8" - 24" | Overall depth: arm 16.75", at leg 12" | weight capacity: 250 lbs

Toilet safety rails are a good choice if you just need a little help getting up and down. They give you the extra help seniors you need by adding arms to your toilet set-up. Then, you can use those arms to push up or steady yourself on the way down.

Why I like these Medline Toilet Safety Rails especially:
  • Easy to install – just remove your existing toilet seat and bolt the frame through those holes. Then, mount your toilet seat onto the frame attachment. It’s easy enough that installation can be temporary if you want to remove them later.
  • Adjustable handle heights – this is helpful for getting the best fit for you and your toilet. They even telescope in and out fit better if you are thin or a little wider.
  • Easy to clean – The rails are aluminum and just need an occasional wipe down for cleaning.
  • Almost universal – These rails work well with elongated and round toilet bowls.

Always follow the manufacturer’s installation directions for safe use. Not properly installing products like these on your toilet could lead to a fall or injury.

Here are some more ideas for raising the toilet height if you are interested.

Features

  • Restores Your Independence: No one likes asking for help with bathroom hygiene when they have problems reaching. The media have praised this toilet aid that lets you care for yourself in total privacy.
  • Unique Sure-Grip Toileting Aid: Accept no substitutes. Only Bottom Buddy has a patented rounded head with retractable "tulip petals" designed to grip tissue securely. Push a button for no-touch release.
  • Uses Less Tissue: This wipe aid only takes a small amount. No need to overstuff the head. Helps elderly, disabled, injured, pregnant and other folks preserve their dignity and freedom. Works with wipes, too.
  • Advanced Ergonomic Design: Forget those clumsy, awkward toilet tongs. Your 11" long Bottom Buddy bathroom aid has a special curved handle, scientifically engineered to fit comfortably in your hand.
  • Instructions and Discreet Storage Pouch Included: Tuck Bottom Buddy into its zippable bag and take it with you. Includes step-by-step directions.

While we are on the toilet (so to speak!), toilet hygiene might be another place you need help. And, you probably don’t want to talk about it either.

The Bottom Buddy Toilet Tissue Aid might be able to help!

This wand helps you reach the places you need to reach. It even grips dry or wet toilet tissue and releases them with the push of a button. You never have to touch used toilet paper! It comes with a storage bag for travel too.

You might have a bit of a learning curve, but after some practice you’ll get the hang of it.

Features

  • 2 Pack, Squeezit, Tooth Paste Tube Squeezer
  • Fits Toothpaste Tubes, Medicine Tubes, Paint Tubes & More
  • Designed To Easily Slide Onto Tubes Of Most Sizes
  • Helps Squeeze The Last Drop From Each Tube
  • Available In A Variety Of Fun Colors, Pre-Loaded Clip Strip.

This simple little product that can make your life in the bathroom much easier. Especially if you have arthritic hands and squeezing the toothpaste tube is extremely difficult.

This nifty little device fits onto the end of the tube and allows the toothpaste to slide out the end as needed. No tight gripping or squeezing required!

If you are particularly thrifty, it’s also a great way to get every drop of toothpaste out of the tube.

What Other Bathroom Safety Products Do You Recommend for Elderly Seniors?

If you are researching bathroom safety accessories for a loved one, I encourage you to sit down and have a talk with them about their needs. Reassure them that tools like these will help them be independent longer. This may help them want to bathe if they can keep their privacy. Let them know that they should not feel ashamed when using these products.

You’ve read all about my favorites. Tell me about yours! Do you have a product you use in your bathroom that you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you found this information helpful, please share it with your friends on social!

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About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

4 thoughts on “10 Best Bathroom Safety Products for the Elderly (Ranked by an Industry Expert!)”

  1. Thanks

    The attaching rails for toilets do seem better than the commode over the toilet – which if you grab the far side can tip over.

  2. As this is perfect thank you! I never really thought about ageing and how that might need to change bathroom layouts before – but it’s funny what can change with age. This is fantastic though – it gives me a good basis for the new bathroom design, so thank you ever so much to the writer of this piece. Though I would like to ask a quick question about walk in baths/showers etc – if anyone would be able to help me out at all? Essentially as my husband has gotten older, his legs have been causing him more and more problems. And one of the things he’s becoming most worried about is the bathroom and his own independence. He doesn’t want to have to rely on others too much, and still wants to be able to bathe himself and such, so we were thinking a walk in bath could be an ideal solution in this case. Does anyone know of any good companies we can get one from? I believe my husband’s friend mentioned a company called Gainsborough (I think this is the company – I’m 90% sure it is anyway: https://www.gainsboroughbaths.com/ ) Does anyone know if they are good? Or does anyone have any recommendations at all for other vendors? Or indeed any other alternatives? We’re completely open at this point! Any tips would be much appreciated as we’re very much at sea here!

    • Hi Izzy! My recommendation for walk in tubs is that you have them installed by a local, experienced contractor. And this is for several reasons. First, you can meet face to face and get a sense of their professionalism and experience. Second, you have a physical location that you can visit if there are problems and your calls aren’t returned. Third, you can check out local references from people in your own community. be sure to get a list of references preferably with photos of the final work. And, check each reference too. I don’t know much about this particular company. Thanks for your comment! –Scott

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