Summary & Highlights
- A tub transfer bench is a specialized chair designed for seniors and those with mobility challenges that allows them to move in and out of a bathtub safely.
- It features an anti-slip sitting surface and rubber stops fitted on the legs of the chair to ensure the bench remains steady at all times. This helps reduce the risk of slips and falls while showering.
- The transfer bench also supports people with mobility problems, helps with impaired balance, and makes showers more comfortable.
- Having a tub transfer bench in the bathroom helps seniors live independent lives by providing them with a safe and comfortable showering experience.
Tub transfer benches are among many bathroom safety devices that help persons with disabilities and mobility issues take a bath. Bathroom safety devices prevent slips and falls that could have serious consequences.
What Is a Tub Transfer Bench?
A tub transfer bench is a long shower chair that helps persons with limited mobility get in and out of bathtubs by giving a sturdy base for the user to sit on before sliding into position.
A shower bench essentially builds a bridge between the inside and outside of the tub. This bridge eliminates the need to “step” over the bathtub wall.
It allows the user to sit on the bench and safely turn, then enter or exit the tub easily. It’s also known as a transfer chair or shower bench.
Adding a tub transfer bench to the bathroom simplifies the showering experience for seniors with mobility challenges.
Learn more about the differences between transfer benches and shower chairs here.
Benefits of a Tub Transfer Bench: Improving Bathtub Accessibility
1. Reduces Slip and Fall Risk in the Bathtub
Tub transfer benches eliminate the need to step over the tub’s edge, which can be risky. They come equipped with anti-slip sitting surfaces and rubber stops fitted on the legs of the chair.
Combined, these features ensure that the transfer bench remains firm and steady at all times, guaranteeing the user’s safety.
This safety improvement helps reduce the risk of falls and slips further while using the bathtub.
2. Makes Showers More Comfortable
The loss of flexibility and stiffness through the waist, hips, and back make it difficult for seniors to stretch, get over the bathtub wall, and stand for long periods. All of which make the bathing process uncomfortable.
A tub transfer bench, however, goes a long way in adding to senior comfort when showering.
Sitting on the bench while taking a bath allows seniors to release pressure from their backs and joints and delight in a more comfortable experience.
3. Eases the Process of Getting In and Out
Bathrooms contain many hard and slippery surfaces that are enough to intimidate most seniors when showering.
Luckily, a tub transfer bench chair makes the process easier and reduces the risk of a senior’s body contacting any of these hard surfaces.
Transfer benches are an extremely safe way to enter and exit a tub or shower/tub combination, especially when combined with a shower grab bar.
4. Provides Support for People With Mobility Problems
If you have ever experienced back pain or had difficulty with movement, you will understand the risk of taking a shower without safety aids. Unfortunately, seniors have to contend with this daily.
However, having a tub transfer bench in the bathroom takes the weight off you and provides much-needed support when taking a bath.
5. Helps With Bad Balance
Tub transfer benches help with balance in two different ways.
Because they eliminate the need to step over the tub wall, balance isn’t a factor when getting in and out of the tub.
And, because you sit down on it when bathing, bath benches reduce the risk of bad balance and associated falls while standing.
If you are easily thrown off balance, ensure the tub transfer bench has a rubber stopper on the feet, so it doesn’t move or rock when used.
How to Set Up/Install a Transfer Bench [5 Easy Steps]
Please note that the instructions below are just a general guide.
Follow the warnings and directions provided by your product’s manufacturer.
1. Assemble the Bench Correctly
Different benches have various assembly methods, depending on the manufacturer. We won’t get into it here, but you can find a step-by-step tutorial in your transfer tub bench manual.
2. Verify That Your Bench is Level and Stable
To determine whether it is stable and level, set the bench in place with two legs inside the tub and two outside.
Adjust the tub bench’s leg length to make the seat level if there is any rocking, moving, or instability.
3. Position the Tub Bench
Now that your bench is level and stabilized, set it in place with the suction cups inside the tub, and then push it down until the cups hold firmly.
If you can bend your knees, position the bench towards the middle. If you need more room because you can’t bend your knees, push it toward the back.
To provide a firm, clean suction grasp, you should move all obstructions, such as bath mats or rugs. Don’t remove any anti-slip bath mats; slide them down a bit.
4. Conduct a Safety Check
Take your new shower bench for a “dry run.”
Ensure that it is still stable, the suction cups are stuck securely, and that you feel safe and supported.
Ask a family member to test it out first if you have any mobility concerns.
5. Using it!
You should be all ready to go now.
Make sure you have one of our best handheld shower heads and holders for increased safety.
Lastly, to clear space around your bathroom, take the bench out and store it in your tub after use.
How to Use a Transfer Bench
- Give it a shake and make sure it’s stable.
- Slowly sit down, feeling for the bench at the back of your legs. Use a grab bar if you have one to keep your balance.
- Shift back on the bench as far as possible with both legs still outside the tub.
- Scoot closer to the tub wall, lift your inside leg over the tub edge, then slide a bit more until you straddle the tub wall.
- Lift the other leg and place it on the inside of the tub.
- After placing both legs in the tub, carefully slide until your body is within the tub area.
- Grab your handheld shower head and enjoy your shower!
- To exit, reverse the process above and ensure the floor is dry to minimize the risk of slipping.
How to Use a Transfer Bench to Take a Shower
- Conduct a safety check. You could also cover the bench with a bright fabric to increase visibility for your senior and warm up the bench.
- Stand in front of the bench, ensuring you can feel the bench at the back of your legs.
- Lower yourself gently onto the bench. If you have a grab bar or wall rail, use it to maintain control.
- Carefully slide across the bench towards the tub wall until you can’t move further without lifting your legs.
- Lift one leg at a time, sliding a little to provide room for the second leg once the first is in position.
- After both legs are in the tub, slide further until you are comfortably seated inside the tub.
- Enjoy your warm bath! Once you’re done, reverse the process to get out.
How Can I Keep Water in a Bathtub With a Transfer Bench? [3 Proven Ways]
Ordinary shower curtains do not work with transfer benches. You could, however, go for a split design curtain that keeps water inside the tub for maximum safety from slips and falls.
Note that different split curtains are made for different designs of transfer benches, so make sure your choice is compatible with your chair.
2. DIY and Modify Your Shower Curtain
You could also cut the shower liner at the section where the bench sits so that a portion of it slips down between the crack in the transfer bench into the tub.
To do this, cut the area into a “V” shape so the person using the tub bench can insert the flap into the slit in the seat. This way, the flaps droop or hang inward over the chair, keeping more water in the tub.
3. Stuff Things Up [Temporary Solution]
You could simply bunch the shower curtain liner up and stuff it into the gap on the transfer bench. Since the liner doesn’t go all the way down, some water may still escape, so this should be a temporary solution.
Transfer benches are an easy, inexpensive solution to improve bathtub accessibility while maintaining bathroom safety. They provide better stability than safety rails and grab bars because you can remain seated.