We all know that older adults may be more prone to falls. Whether this is due to overall weakness, vitamin D deficiency, recovery from operations, or vision problems, falls are a result of numerous risk factors. This brings about the need to shop for a bath stool for elderly individuals, as families are urged to take extra precautions to ensure their safety.
While falls among the elderly are a common occurrence, the numbers are actually extremely alarming. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in four individuals aged 65 and above fall every year — but less than half inform their doctor. Falls can be fatal, and one in five of them can cause serious injuries.
A fear of falling can be just as harmful, particularly among those who have experienced this before.
This persistent fear may decrease one’s quality of life, especially as they may avoid activities that exacerbate their risk of falling. Unfortunately, this includes basic activities such as bathing or showering.
To mitigate risk and enhance safety measures in the bathroom — a common site for falls — an assisted shower chair is one of the best ways to go.
Scott Trudeau, PhD, OTR is a productive aging practice manager at the American Occupational Therapy Association. He says that older individuals can benefit from shower chairs in order to maintain a sense of autonomy and independence while showering, which is such a private act.
Shower chairs are pieces of furniture that have been specifically designed for the bathroom and for those with disabilities or mobility issues. A good shower chair with arms and backrest is water-resistant and have been built with the utmost safety standards, convenience, and comfort in mind.
Shower chairs are a sound alternative to sponge baths. This is because elderly individuals may use shower chairs for additional support as they bathe, especially as this activity can elicit extra relaxation due to the therapeutic properties of water.
Most shower chairs have rubberized feet, but there are several other features that distinguish one kind of chair from another. Each type of best rated shower chair for elderly use has its own key qualities.
Read on to discover more about shower chairs to help you opt for a bath chair for elderly use that suits your needs best.
Standard shower chairs have rubberized feet to stand firmly in place. These also have hand grips which will help the user stand and then lower themselves back onto the chair. While these may look like regular seats, they are usually a little wider.
Depending on the amount of support you will be needing, these either come with or without a back rest.
Folding stools may work well for those who do not have too much difficulty with balance and mobility. This is one of the easier and more affordable options out there as well.
As the name implies, this portable shower chair option goes straight in and out of the shower after use. Individuals simply sit on the stool as they bathe, but it is important to note that these do not have handlebars or back rests, so support may be limited.
Transfer benches are shower chairs that have been created for individuals who have extreme disability or limitations in mobility. With transfer benches, two of its feet are longer and are stationed outside the tub. The other pair of feet will be inside the tub, which should allow the user to easily slide into the tub and out of it.
For a little more mobility and adjustability, rolling shower chairs come with wheels that you can lock in place when need be. This option may be most ideal for individuals who have severe handicaps or disabilities as minimal movements are required.
Many rolling shower chairs also have seats that can be lifted to feature a commode, also known as a portable toilet. You can then use the wheels to roll the mechanism over a standard sized toilet for ease of use.
A more permanent shower chair option is the fold-down type that needs to be installed. The chair’s backrest is mounted onto the wall of the shower to remain stable. An additional support rod can also be installed as a hand grip. This type of shower chair maximizes space as it can be folded up when not in use.
Since there are several types of shower chairs out in the market, choosing the best shower chair for you or your loved ones is a matter of meeting individual needs. While they essentially serve the same purpose, each shower chair for the elderly was created with different factors in mind.
Whether you need bath tub seats for seniors, or one that is made of a certain material, there is definitely a shower chair for the elderly out there that meets these requirements.
Here are some factors to keep in mind as you are shopping around for the best shower chair for you:
Plastic and metal combinations are probably the most common types of bath seats for elderly use, because they can withstand water. These are also lightweight, but still sturdy enough to stay in place especially when they have rubber tips.
If comfort is your concern, you may want to opt for a shower chair that is padded or has a mesh backrest fashioned onto it.
You need to note the measurements of your chosen shower chair for elderly medicare to ensure that they will fit inside your bathtub or shower. Remember that there should still be enough space to move around, especially if someone will be assisting the user.
Shower chairs usually hold up to 250 pounds, but there are many others that have a greater capacity. You may also choose those that have wider seats to promote ease of use.
Some shower chairs are fixed in place, but the majority of those in the market today allow you to adjust their height. Height adjustability is an important factor to consider, given that it is best for an individual to have their feet firmly planted on the floor for balance and stability.
Aside from these factors, you may also want to ask the senior’s healthcare provider or doctor if there are any particular shower chairs that they recommend which will serve them best.
After browsing through the types of shower chairs as well as the factors to consider, you may have a more concrete idea of which model best suits your needs. However, there are still loads of options in the market to sift through.
To simplify the process, here are some of the best-rated shower chairs for elderly use. You will be able to narrow down your choices per kind, and hopefully make the purchase you’ve been waiting for.
This model by Drive Medical boasts thousands of five-star ratings on Amazon. The standard shower chair has both back and arm rests, and the entire chair is made of lightweight plastic. This, together with its removable arms and legs, makes it easy to take apart for storage.
It also has non-slip feet, and its height can be adjusted by half an inch increments with no tools necessary. It can accommodate up to 350 pounds.
DMI’s Shower Transport Chair is a user-friendly option that comes with a commode. Its wheels allow users to pivot the chair over a toilet for convenient usage. This also makes it easier to roll the chair in and out of the shower.
The DMI shower chair for elderly has a waterproof and padded vinyl seat and backrest for seniors’ comfort. Its 4” wheels are made of durable rubber, and they can be locked in place — but they are still able to roll over most types of surfaces.
BrightCare’s folding shower seat is a compact stool for those looking for a portable option. It has a wide and curved bench-like seat that is firmly placed on an aluminum frame. The seat has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling.
Its feet are covered with anti-skid and non-slip rubber material. It also has a backhand grip to help you get on and off, and it can hold up to 250 pounds.
While on the pricier side, Carousel’s Sliding Transfer Bench with Swivel Seat boasts numerous professional-grade features. The transfer bench makes for easy sliding on and off the chair, and its swivel seat allows the individual to pivot when needed.
Its seat, together with its back and armrests, are padded for comfort while bathing. The material used is a medical-grade type of closed-cell molded polyurethane that does not absorb water, and is also slip-resistant. Arm rests can be adjusted and locked in place.
The Carousel transfer bench is finished off with a non-traditional hi-view blue color that contrasts the standard white or silver, making it ideal for those who are visually impaired or those who suffer from dementia. This can significantly decrease the chance of falls and slips as its color makes it easy to distinguish among its surroundings.
This shower chair by MJM International is of the rolling type. The only form of assembly required is that of installing its wheels onto its legs. Made with healthcare grade polymer plastic, the chair is mildew resistant and also anti-bacterial. Its mesh backrest is comfortable, dries quickly, and also has a pocket for storage.
Its soft seat provides maximum comfort, and its cutout design can simplify toilet usage as well. Hand grips are non-slip, and the chair also has additional reinforcements on the areas where extra weight may be distributed for optimal stability.
Fold-down shower chairs are great if you are looking to save space, or if you simply want to ensure greater stability. HealthSmart’s bath chair can be mounted on a shower wall, and folded back up when not in use.
Its plastic seat prevents water buildup with drainage holds. You can adjust the height of the chair as well. The chair’s legs are capped off with rubber to stay in place when the seat is folded back down.
The best shower chair for the elderly is the one that meets your needs accordingly. You may opt for a fold-down shower chair if you want it mounted on the wall, or a transfer bench if you need extra assistance sliding in and out of the tub. There are also several other types to choose from.
Finding the best bath seat for elderly means taking note of all your needs, looking into different factors, and then finding the model that meets these requirements.
Many shower chairs are available on e-commerce sites like Amazon, but it may be best to try a particular model out before purchasing it. You may even be able to compare prices and reviews before arriving at your decision.
Have you found the shower chair for elderly use that you can vouch for? What factors helped you arrive at your decision? Let us Senior Strong help you make your decision. Contact Senior Strong today!