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Bathroom Safety Products For Seniors

Updated on August 20, 2014

Bathroom Safety Products Can Help Seniors Stay Independent

For some seniors, poor balance, weakness, or limited range of motion can make it difficult to bathe or shower. Tubs can be difficult to get in and out of and showers may create an even greater fall risk. For elderly individuals who are capable of living on their own but experience barriers in being able to do their self care independently, there are assistive devices and adaptive aids that can help.

This page will discuss some of those options. In any situation, it's wise to consult with a physical or occupational therapist to fully assess the needs of seniors and to get professional recommendations on what accommodations would be best. This page simply covers some of the situations and equipment I've encountered while helping my mother make adaptations in her home.

Bathroom Safety Products We Used in the Tub

My mother is a senior who lives indepedently and hopes to be able to continue to do so. One of the first concerns she voiced was difficulty getting in and out of her bathtub. Although she's a small woman, her strength and balance are significantly reduced and she feared she might one day be unable to get out of the tub. We didn't feel she was at a point where help was really needed with bathing but we agreed that some adaptations were in order.

Like many seniors, my mother prefers bathing in a tub to showering, so we started our search for bathroom safety products there. There are special tubs available which allow the user to walk into the tub just as you do a shower. This keeps the individual from having to step up into the tub and with the seat that's installed, they also don't have to lower themselves into the tub very far. My mother didn't want to make major changes to her bath so we went a different route.

The first thing that she decided to do was to get a long handled sponge to help her in reaching her back and all other areas when bathing. Next, we installed grab bars on the tub so that she could steady herself both when getting in and getting out of the tub. Again, she didn't want to make major changes so she opted to get the grab bars that attach via suction cup This allowed us to easily install them, relocate them any time we wanted, and avoid drilling holes into the shower wall. Unfortunately we found that these grab bars didn't stay in place well. Therefore, I would recommend only properly mounted grab bars installed into wall studs so that they stay securely in place and can support the full weight of an individual. Here are some tips for DIY installation.

We also discussed a tub bench which would help eliminate the need to lower herself into the tub and the extra effort to get up from such a low position. Some tub benches merely sit in the tub like a chair while others attach securely to the side of the tub. My mother decided that this wasn't necessary, but agreed that it would be reassuring to have a medical alert system, so that if she did fall in the bathroom or have difficulty getting up, she could summon help quickly and easily.

Of course other small changes like a using no skid mats were also completed.

Bathroom Safety in the Shower

My mother experiences periods of back pain which significantly reduces her mobility. Although she can typically use her tub, she wanted to also make some adaptations in her shower so that it could be used when use of the tub wasn't possible. Her shower has a step up of only a few inches and includes two shower seats. We discussed shower chairs but she felt the seats in her shower were sufficient as they're fairly large and certainly offer stability as they're part of the construction of the shower itself. They don't offer the added security of arms but short grab bars are placed appropriately to help her get up and down.

With the use of the seats in the shower, we needed to add a handheld shower so that she could direct the shower stream appropriately and operate it from where she was seated. She again chose one that mounted by suction cup to the wall so that installation would be simple. The shower hose itself was only 5 feet long, so we purchased an extended hose (7 feet) to fit her large shower.Of course, getting no-skid mats was also important.

Other Considerations

Although my mother has no difficulty with her toilet, some seniors do have trouble either getting down on the toilet or coming up off of it. Certainly raised toilet seats can be really helpful for some of these individuals. They provide a higher seat and arms for stability.

There are of course a number of other bathroom safety products that are very useful, they simply weren't ones that my mother required. An evaluation by a therapist can identify any needed adaptations and assistive devices. Long handles for faucets, aids to assist with dressing, transfer benches and lifts for getting into the tub, and structural changes may be needed.

Photo Credits

Introduction: (no derivative work allowed)

Used in the Tub:

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @chefkeem: Definitely wait until you split your head. "Prevention" is cowardly! Live dangerously! :)

    • profile image

      grainne 5 years ago

      In older age it is difficult for elders to stay independent. It is tough for them to do their work by own. They feel difficulty in bathing, dressing, cooking even in walking. They need more safety in bathing. Home Care UK says- it is not possible for any caretaker to stay with them at every time.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very useful products for seniors. ~blessed~

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Very important information about safety in the bathroom for senior citizens. ~ blessed

    • WorkplaceSafetyG profile image

      WorkplaceSafetyG 6 years ago

      Great safety information! It's alarming how many seniors fall, slip and hurt themselves in the bathroom and kitchen. Often, one fall becomes a downward decline in health for seniors. Thanks for offering such great info.

    • profile image

      Bhecky 6 years ago

      To complete the safety of elderly, it will be more ideal for them to constantly have a PERS, which they can use to easily call for help in times of emergency. This is how I keep my mom safe. The PERS she is using is featured in the Just5 Easyphone. I find this as a very practical device as this doesnât only helps to secure her safety wherever she is but allows us to keep connected anytime we want as well. This phone is very easy to use and with one press to its emergency SOS button and she can immediately call for help if she needs to.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      @Kevin Wilson 2: Thanks for stopping by AND for the reminder about the suction cup grab bars. I did not trust them and checked them every week. I had suggested they were ok ONLY if someone could check them regularly and re-adjust as necessary. Finally, just a few weeks ago we gave it up. I would NOT recommend them actually.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image

      Kevin Wilson 2 6 years ago

      Very useful and interesting lens. When my 80-yr-old mother visited last year we added a grab bar that clamped on to the rim of the tub, which was very useful and also we could remove it once the need was over. The suction-cup grab bars would do a similar job, but I am surprised they are strong and reliable enough. Have to look into them.

    • profile image

      sharmagaurav 7 years ago

      Nice Lense...

      we also deals in safety prodycts.....

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Your work is a great credit to you. I always enjoy reading it. Blessed by a Squid Angel today. ( )

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      OMG Christene -- do WE want to admit that these are in our not so distant future? Ah, the rite of passage, eh?

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 8 years ago

      Great lens, many things to consider.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 8 years ago from Vancouver

      I have a raised toilet seat - it is my most important safety feature in my bathroom. I have arthritis in my knees and hips - so no strength to get up and down from anything too low. You might want to add raised toilets seats to this terrific lens.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 8 years ago from Sweden

      My bathroom is so small I can just turn around. But I loved your lens even so. Thank you for thinking of our safety! 5* and a hug to boot

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I'll be 60 years old in May. Should I buy? Or should I wait until I slip and split my head...?