As individuals grow older, many lose strength, flexibility, and balance. This makes bathing and trips to the bathroom frustrating and, often, dangerous.
Having provided mobility and safety equipment since 1976, we realize how critically important aging in place and maintaining independence are. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best bathroom safety products available to seniors.
- Raised Toilet Seats
- Toilet Safety Rails
- Bathtub Rails
- Floor to Ceiling Transfer Poles
- Shower Chair
- Grab Bars
- Transfer Bench
- Handheld Showerhead
- Floor Mat
1. Raised Toilet Seats
A raised toilet seat can make a huge difference for someone that finds it hard to sit or stand up from the toilet. This simple solution attaches to the existing toilet seat and elevates it just enough to make toileting easier for seniors with limited mobility or strength. These aids are also commonly referred to as toilet risers or toilet boosters.
Tips and options: Raised toilet seats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, heights and weight capacities. Also, depending on your needs, you can find designs with and without padding or support arms.
2. Toilet Safety Rails
Toilet rails are installed on or around a toilet to provide improved safety and security when using the bathroom. They help the user sit down or stand up and offer the support needed to transfer from a wheelchair to the toilet.
Tips and options: Stand-alone toilet rails are portable and can be folded up when not in use. Other rails attach directly to the toilet, floor or wall. Some wall-mounted rails flip up and out of the way, which is especially helpful if you need to maneuver a wheelchair in and out of the room. Before making a purchase decision, take into consideration the shape of your toilet, plus the width, height and weight capacity needed.
3. Bathtub Rails
Like toilet rails, bathtub rails provide extra stability and balance to seniors—a requirement in the bathtub and shower area where water can create extremely slippery surfaces. Most fit over the edge of the tub wall and are secured into place with a clamp.
Tips and options: Look for rails that offer multiple or adjustable heights, have a non-slip, easy-grip texture, and exceed your weight demands. For optimum safety, use bathroom grab bars in conjunction with bathtub rails.
4. Floor to Ceiling Transfer Poles
Multi-use floor-to-ceiling grab bars provide support to seniors wherever it is needed. These height-adjustable, tension-mounted poles are very popular because they take up very little space. Elderly adults use them in the bathroom to transition from sitting to standing or for extra assistance when entering or exiting the tub or shower.
Tips and options: Some designs, like the SuperPole with bar, offer attachable handles and other optional accessories.
5. Shower Chair
Shower chairs (also known as shower seats, shower stools and shower benches) give those who have trouble standing a comfortable place to sit while bathing. These water-resistant chairs are very cost-effective and significantly reduce the chance of an older individual slipping and falling in the bathroom.
Tips and options: Make sure the shower chair you choose adequately drains water and offers the support you need. There are endless choices available; you can find everything from simple backless stools that tuck into the corner of your shower to wall-mounted options and electric-powered bath seats.
6. Grab Bars
One of the best ways to prevent falls in the bathroom is to install grab bars. Seniors are able to maintain their balance when they have something substantial to hold onto. Without grab bars, the elderly tend to rely on towel racks and bathroom fixtures that are not designed to support their weight. Grab bars also provide support for caregivers who are helping someone sit or stand.
Tips and options: Install your grab bars strategically around the room, mounting them to a stud behind the wall whenever possible (this is safer than using suction-mounted options). Straight bars come in various lengths and can be installed vertically, horizontally or at an angle. Curved and L-shaped bars are also available.
A commode is a portable toilet that can either be placed over the toilet or used on its own (by making use of a removable waste bin). They are ideal for individuals with mobility issues and difficulty reaching the bathroom overnight. Many commodes are considered “3 in 1” because they serve many purposes, including acting as a stand-alone toilet, a raised toilet seat and a toilet safety frame.
Tips and options: When searching for a commode, look for sturdy, comfortable options that are also easy to clean. Specialty commodes are also available for sale; shower commodes can be used for bathing, and others have attachable wheels, useful when it is necessary to transfer an older adult from one place to another.
8. Transfer Bench
Transfer benches are wider than the typical shower chair. Two of the bench’s legs are placed inside the tub, and the other two legs stay outside of the tub. Leg height adjustments can be made so that the bench fits safely over the tub’s edge. Their design allows seniors, especially those in a wheelchair, to avoid stepping over the side of a tub and safely slide into place while seated instead.
Tips and options: Benches with extra padding or a swivel action are readily available, and specialty bariatric transfer benches will meet the needs of individuals with nonstandard weights.
9. Handheld Showerhead
Handheld showerheads make bathing in a tub or shower easier for everyone involved. The handheld unit is attached to the shower wall, and the hose can be directed wherever needed. This flexibility also allows a senior or caregiver to test and adjust the temperature effortlessly.
Tips and options: Look for a handheld showerhead that has multiple pressure settings and a “pause” feature that allows you to briefly stop the flow of water when needed—functions that are both convenient and save money!
10. Floor Mat
Unsecured bath mats are very dangerous for seniors. Instead, look for non-slip safety floor mats; the extra traction will increase stability and help to prevent falling.
Tips and options: Opt for slimmer mats that securely attach to the floor and don’t allow corners to curl up and become tripping hazards. Size is an important consideration, as is comfort and the ability to clean the mat. Many antimicrobial options are available.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
Bathrooms pose unique challenges to the elderly. Thankfully, some ingenious daily living aids can keep seniors safe and increase their independence.
The experts at Conval-Aid are ready to offer assistance and help you find the right product based on your individual needs—many of which can be easily installed and put to use immediately.
Visit our Ottawa showroom to view and personally try our extensive inventory of bath safety products and mobility equipment. Or, call us; we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.