Toronto In-Home Care Blog

Shower Safety and Support Seating - Assistive Devices

Posted by Steve Jones

Wed, Sep 9, 2015


This is the second installment of our weekly segment on assistive devices.  Every week we will go into detail about a specific assistive device and all that you need to know before purchasing one.  Read last week's assistive device post about wheelchairs here.

Slipping and falling in the shower can be a big fear at any age, but the last thing anyone wants to hear is that an older loved one has hurt themselves in the shower.  If a parent is moving into your home, there are some steps that you can take to make your bathroom a safer place.  Shower seating is a great option to help an older individual have a safe and enjoyable shower experience without the fear of slipping and falling.  


There are four options that you can choose from when selecting a shower seating and the prices and experiences can range drastically depending on the option that you choose.  Below are the pros and cons of each type of shower seating to help you make an informed decision about which to purchase.  

Removable Shower Chairs

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Removable shower chairs are the most cost effective option when looking for bathtub stability.  They are outfitted with rubber stoppers at the bottom and can come with a variety of features.  Some are just stools with no handles or backrests.  Some come with everything including anti-bacterial coating.  The above is a DMI shower chair with backrest.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Removable
  • Variety of types and sizes

Cons:

  • Extra work to move in/out
  • Difficult to step over bathtub wall
  • Takes up space

 

Built-in Bathtub Seats

Walk-in tub with door.  Source: Wikipedia-gemteck1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessible_bathtub#/media/File:Walk-in_tub.jpg

These are the bathtub seats that are often advertised on television.  These bath tubs often include a door making it much easier to enter and exit the tub.  In the picture above, this bathtub also comes with an attached support hand bar for extra stability.  

 

Pros:

  • Easy to move in and out
  • More comfortable seating
  • Looks much better than removable seats

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Needs to be installed

Transfer Benches

Invacare Transfer bench - Bathroom Safety 

Transfer benches are similar to removable shower chairs but they have an extended portion that allows the user to slide onto the chair.  If you're afraid that a relative will have trouble getting over the side of the tub, transfer benches are a great option to decrease the risk.  The Invacare transfer bench above has a built in handle for extra support as well.  

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Removable
  • Variety of types and sizes

Cons:

  • Extra work to move in/out
  • Takes up space

Fold-down wall-mounted chairs

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Wall-mounted shower seats are a great option for bathrooms with stand up showers.  These seats attach to the wall and fold down when they are needed.  Though there are many different varieties, the majority of them lack handle bars and additional grab bars would need to be installed.  The above example is a Nova Ortho-Med bathrooms 365 wall mounted shower chair

Pros:

  • Folds away for easy storage/access
  • Looks better than other options
  • Variety of types and sizes

Cons:

  • Lack of supporting grab bars
  • Needs to be installed
  • Primarily only for stand up showers

When a loved one needs extra support in the shower, make sure that they have the correct device.  Before choosing shower seating, think of the space that you have, the money that you're willing to spend and consider all of the options.  If you have any questions about shower seating or support available for seniors, please contact us at Qualicare.

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Topics: Assistive Devices