The Ultimate Guide to Using a Shower Chair (Safely and Correctly)

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

Shower chairs are a great tool for the bathroom safety of seniors. So keep reading as we share with you our ultimate guide to using a shower chair safely.

Using a Shower Chair Safely
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A shower chair is an excellent option to avoid accidents and slippage. This guide will help you understand how to set up and install a shower chair correctly and how you can use them safely with help or alone.

Even the best shower chair won’t be as helpful as possible if you don’t understand how to use and, more importantly, how to use a shower chair safely.

Read on to find out more.

What Is a Shower Chair?

Shower chairs are seats that are used in the bathroom to assist persons with disabilities or limited mobility when showering. They feature anti-slip and water resistance properties to prevent any unwanted movements.

How to Set Up and Install a Shower Chair

Despite the technical appearance of a shower chair, they are relatively easy to set up and install. After purchasing your shower chair, follow the steps below to ensure you set up the seat correctly and firmly.

Place the Chair in the Shower

In your bathroom, ensure that you place your chair at the center of the shower. Ideally, you want the chair in a position where water will constantly reach you.

In addition, your chair shouldn’t be too far away from items you will use, such as soaps and shower gels. This placement helps in avoiding too much movement.

Check for Stability

Most shower chairs are made of plastic and, sometimes, plastic can warp and make a shower chair unlevel.

After successfully placing the chair at the center, ensure it is stable by checking for rubber paddings at the bottom of the chair legs. These rubber paddings provide friction and keep the chair from moving while in use.

Add a rubber mat underneath the chair to prevent further movement for extra safety.

using a shower chair safely remove obstructions
Make sure to place your caddy on the other side of the shower.

Remove Any Obstructions

Is your shower chair next to anything that could pose a potential hazard when using the bathroom? For example, overhead shower caddies may loosen and topple over the user.

To avoid this, reposition the caddy onto another side of the shower. Similarly, remove any shower gel containers or soap dishes that may be lying on the floor.

How to Use a Shower Chair Correctly

After successfully installing the shower chair, caregivers and seniors must understand how to use the chair correctly. A shower chair in your bathroom does not guarantee safety if you use it incorrectly or unsafely.

Also, to get the full benefits of a shower chair, you need to set it up and use it correctly. Here are some steps to follow.

Adjust Chair Height Accordingly

When purchasing a shower chair, consider one that comes with adjustable legs. Before showering, adjust the seat of the chair to accommodate the user. As a tip, users should be able to plant their feet firmly on the ground while seated.

Center Yourself on the Seat

When the seat is ready for use, have your senior sit squarely at the center of the seat. To assist with this, you can employ a grab bar or shower bench to help them center themselves appropriately onto the chair.

Tips for Improving Shower Safety While Using a Shower Chair

Finally! You have successfully installed a shower chair, tested it thoroughly, and ensured it is a safe intervention. But are there other ways to improve safety while still using the shower chair? Here are some tips and options to consider.

using a shower chair safely grab bar
Grab bars are extremely helpful for those with back injuries or low body strength.

Install a Grab Bar

A grab bar provides much-needed support when lowering and lifting yourself from the shower chair. These are great for individuals with low body strength and back injuries. Grab bars are reasonably easy to install and make a huge difference in safety.

Add a Corner Bench

A shower corner bench will be a great addition to the space if the shower chair is not within reach of other bathroom essentials. Here, a senior can store all required items and easily access them without leaving the chair.

Avoid Sitting on the Edge

Avoid putting all your weight on the edge of the seat when sitting on the shower chair, as this may topple the chair and cause injuries. It is essential to sit squarely in the middle of the seat. It is vital to keep this in mind when you are in the act of sitting down.

Final Thoughts

The safety and comfort of seniors in a bathroom are of utmost importance. With the help of a shower chair, seniors can be independent and maintain their dignity while their loved ones always maintain their safety.

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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