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:
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:
Once a safe position for showering is set, consider these ideas too:
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.
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
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:
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.
1. Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms
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:
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.
2. Medline Bathtub Safety Grab Bar
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:
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
3. Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench with Swivel Seat
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:
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.
4. Gorilla Grip Original Patented Bath, Shower, Tub Mat
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:
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!
5. Vive Suction Grab Bar
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:
6. AquaSense 3 Setting Handheld Shower Head
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:
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.
7. Drive Medical Whisper Ultra Quiet Bath Lift
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:
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!
8. Medline Toilet Safety Rails
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:
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.
9. Bottom Buddy Toilet Tissue Wiping Aid
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.
10. Evriholder SQ-2 Squeezit Tube Squeezer 2 Count
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!
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