9 Incredible Shower Chair Alternatives (What to Use Instead?)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

Shower chairs sometimes occupy a lot of space in the bathroom. So keep reading as we discuss nine great shower chair alternatives for the bathroom safety of your senior loved ones.

Shower Chair Alternatives
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Shower chairs increase bathroom safety by providing a secure area in a slippery bath.

But shower chairs are unsightly medical devices that can cost a lot of money and take up a lot of space in the shower. They need to be cleaned frequently. It’s possible to turn over even the best shower chairs.

Sometimes seniors want a more permanent or safer solution. Here are several options that might work better for some older adults.

Sometimes seniors and the elderly

Shower Chair Alternatives

Here are some excellent shower chair alternatives:

1. Grab Bars

Did you know that in 2008, adults aged 15 and older spent $63.7 billion on lifetime medical expenses due to bathroom-related injuries? It was a dire situation, but this revolutionary device has been of great help.

A grab bar is a safety device mounted on the wall adjacent to a shower; front, back, side, or all. They can be either straight or curved and help maintain balance and stability while using the bathroom.

Pros:

  • Easy grip when standing, sitting, or entering a shower or tub
  • Affordable
  • Can fit in tight spaces

Cons:

  • Poor support for people who can’t stand for long while showering
  • Can be tough on the wrists, especially for seniors with arthritis

2. Bath Lifts

Getting into a bath becomes a dangerous affair if you are experiencing a lack of balance, chronic back pain, or have injuries.

While shower chairs may not sufficiently help, bath lifts gently allow users to safely lower and raise themselves into bathtubs while avoiding dangerous leg slips. They ensure that you enter and exit the bathtub safely.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally easy to use
  • Some can double up as transfer benches to help you get in and out of a bath
  • Comfortable and relaxing bathroom experience

Cons:

  • More expensive to buy and maintain

3. Shower Stools

With the addition of a shower stool in your bathroom, say hello to longer and more relaxing showers. Shower stools come with three or four legs and feature a waterproof, backless seat.

The stool is slip-resistant, and the legs are fitted with rubber stops to prevent slippage. They occupy much less space than shower chairs and can fit in confined baths.

Pros:

  • Occupy minimal space so fit in tight showers
  • Affordable
  • Excellent durability and reliability
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Hard plastic can be uncomfortable to sit on
  • Can be tough on the back since it has no backrest
shower chair alternatives built-in shower seat
A built-in shower seat provides excellent support while taking a shower.

4. Built-In Shower Seat

Also known as shower benches, these shower seats offer excellent support as you take your shower. They are a more permanent solution than bath chairs and guarantee premium safety.

A built-in shower seat mounts to the wall, supporting the back. Your shower seat could also be hinged so it can lower itself when it’s not in use.

Pros:

  • Elegant and functional
  • Safe because they’re sturdier
  • Customizable to your needs

Cons:

  • Takes-up space
  • Not an add-on

5. Wall Mounted Flip Down Shower Bench

These shower benches mount onto a wall with the seating area hinged to allow the bench to flip downwards when not in use.

Wall-mounted flip-down shower benches are a less permanent option when compared to built-in shower seats because you can move them around the bathroom at the user’s convenience.

Pros:

  • Fold-up design increases space when not in use
  • Stylish and ergonomic
  • Can fit in tight spaces

Cons:

  • Risk of falling off – No side edges to keep your senior positioned well
  • Too much weight can stress the hinges

6. Shower Corner Bench

A corner bench is a bench that tucks into the corner of your bathroom. Usually, these benches are made from wood and are pie-shaped.

They also feature additional storage at the bottom, where you can store your favorite bathroom essentials. In addition, they are lightweight and easy to move around from one corner to the next. They are also ideal for small bathrooms.

Pros:

  • Simple, stylish solution
  • Space-saving solution that stays out of the way
  • Compact to fit in small showers

Cons:

  • Poor weight rating: most only hold a maximum of 200lbs
  • May be uncomfortable to sit in between 2 walls

7. Lawn or Plastic Chair

When you are not busy grilling barbeques on a hot summer day, you may consider using your lawn chair as a shower chair alternative. Even though most of these seats are plastic, you should not use them in wet environments.

They do not feature any anti-slip properties and are therefore hazardous to operate while taking a shower. Some people choose them because they are affordable solutions and do not look like medical equipment. But, they are an unsafe alternative generally.

Pros:

  • Minimal to zero cost-you probably already have it in your home
  • Draws you away from unsightly medical equipment

Cons:

  • Big safety risk-they may not support shifting and leaning weight. They also don’t have suction cups that prevent sliding, increasing the risk of falls.
shower chair alternatives tub transfer bench
Make entering and exiting the bathtub easier by adding a tub transfer bench.

8. Tub Transfer Bench

For people with a bathtub in their bathrooms, a tub transfer bench helps you to enter and exit your bathtub safely. Further, the transfer bench allows you to slide over after crossing the bathtub comfortably.

These are ideal for individuals who experience difficulties stepping over tub walls and those who cannot support themselves while standing in the tub for extended periods.

Pros:

  • More secure than rails and grab bars
  • Help transfer into a bathtub
  • Double up as shower chairs

Cons:

  • Occupy more space
  • Without the right shower curtain, using them makes the bathroom floor wet, compromising your safety.

RELATED: Shower Chairs vs. Tub Transfer Benches

9. Hot Tub

After a long and tedious day, you want to head home and unwind. What is more relaxing than sliding into a hot tub?

As pleasurable as it may be, be careful not to make it a habit, as hot tubs can increase your water and electricity bills.

You should also use hot tubs with handrails to make entering and getting out more accessible. A walk-in option also eliminates the need to climb over the threshold, minimizing the risk of falls.

Pros:

  • Walk-in hot tubs are very easy to use
  • Soothing hydrotherapy for maximum relaxation
  • Health benefits-better sleep, reduced stress, blood pressure, and others

Cons:

  • Very expensive to install and maintain
  • Hard to get in and out of
  • Seniors with compromised immune systems, diabetes, a heart condition, and others should not use hot tubs.

Alternative Bathing Ideas

Take a Bath Instead

Baths are generally more relaxing than taking a shower. It is worth rewarding yourself with a bath to help uplift your mood and spirits.

Stand to Wash Your Hair, Sit to Bathe

For a quick and relaxing wash, you may want to finish washing your hair while standing so that you can have a nice and clean bath while seated down.

Bathing Less Frequently (sponge bath in between)

For people keen on conserving water and electricity, taking fewer baths certainly earns you points on the sustainable development goals chat. However, incorporate a sponge bath now and then for ultimate relaxation and freshness.

RELATED: How to Shower With a Shower Chair

Final Thoughts

Your home should be your safe place. To curb any unpleasant incidents that may happen, especially in the bathroom, these shower chair alternatives can be used, depending on your unique needs.

Evaluate your budget, space, style, and other considerations, then pick one that works for you or your loved one! 

Sources:

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
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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