Implementing daily living aids into the homes of vulnerable individuals such as the elderly, disabled, or mobility restricted, is something that requires research, and a deep understanding of the needs of the person you are buying for, whether that is yourself, or someone else. With the help of the correct safety aid, that meets the specific needs of a user, people may be able to continue living independently for much longer than they would without the helping hand of a safety aid. In the bathroom, many factors can pose a risk of injury for vulnerable individuals – slippery floors, hygiene concerns, and moving between seated and standing positions. With the help of a safety aid, the risk of injury can be greatly decreased. When bathing in particular, a bath or shower chair is an excellent aid to have for vulnerable users. Below are some of the frequently asked questions regarding a bath chair and shower chair to help you decide if this aid is right for you.
What are bath and shower chairs?
Bath and shower chairs allow people to remain seated in a comfortable position while bathing. In the shower, this means that users do not have to stand for prolonged periods of time if they have trouble with being on their feet. In the bathtub, users can be seated in the tub without having to lower themselves all the way down, and they back up again.
What can I use my bath and shower chair for?
Bath chairs can be used to sit at a comfortable height when using the bathtub, or can sometimes be converted to be a bath step as well, to aid in getting in and out of the tub. Shower chairs can be sat on while using the shower and can be purchased with a range of different functions, including rotation and wall-mounted options. Primarily, both kinds of aids are used to remain seated while bathing.
What different kinds of bath and shower chairs are available to purchase?
Bath chairs and shower chairs, while serving extremely similar purposes, and sometimes overlapping as products, can still be divided into their own categories. Freestanding shower chairs are relatively self-explanatory. These are stand-alone chairs that don’t need to be attached to anything. They feature rubber, non-slip feet, and are height adjustable – this adjustability means that the shower chair can also be used in the bathtub if necessary. Bath and shower chairs can come equipped with a backrest or could be backless to ensure that the user can sit in it either way. Bath seating is slightly different to shower seating. Most shower seating can also be used in the tub, however many aids made specifically for the bathtub are designed to sit into the tub using the sides as a support system. This aid would be best suited to someone who only uses the tub to bathe.
Do I need to consult an occupational therapist or independent living consultant about my needs before purchasing a bath or shower chair?
It is not necessary to consult anyone, including occupational therapists or independent living consultants, about purchasing a bath or shower chair if you know the needs of your user already. Knowing the needs of your user means that you can do the necessary research independently. However, consulting with these groups may help you find the right aid, or better explain what needs must be met.
What is the weight capacity of bath and shower seating?
Of course, this will primarily depend on the aid that you decide to purchase. Since these types of aids are generally designed to support the full body weight of an adult – most often, the weight restrictions should not pose an issue. However, it is always best to check with the manufacturer for the exact weight capacity of any specific aid.
What do I need to consider before purchasing bath and shower seating?
The first thing that needs to be considered before buying any kind of bathroom safety aid is your user’s needs. This is where the advice of an independent living consultant may be useful, they’ll be able to explain the exact kind of support that the vulnerable user needs. Specifically with bath and shower seating – it is important to make the distinction between these two groups. If your user primarily uses the bathtub, then bath seating that is designed to be inset in the tub may be the best option, however, if the user showers most often, then maybe a free-standing shower stool may be the best option. There are also aids that will allow you to use it in both contexts. The installation method of your aid will also need to be considered. If you want a wall-mounted product, knowing the dimensions of your bathroom is essential, and having a professional install the aid is necessary.
What dimensions in my bathroom do I need to consider before purchasing bath or shower seating?
Shower seating is generally freestanding, so it does not require much thought regarding the dimensions of the aid or the shower space. However, with bath chairs, it’s good to know the width of your bathtub. Many options are adjustable, and made to fit the standard bathtub – but it is always best to check.
How do I install bath and shower seating?
This depends on the aid, most aids come with non-slip, rubber feet, and can just be placed where they need to go. If an installation is required beyond that, it is advised that a professional helps you install the aid.
How can I clean my bath and shower chairs?
Cleaning bath and shower seating can usually be done by simply using the bathroom cleaning products you already have at your disposal. Disinfecting the surfaces every few weeks is a great way to ensure the aid stays clean and hygienic. Be mindful of rinsing the aid after cleaning to ensure that any products you’ve used to clean it don’t affect the skin of the user.
What other aids should be used in conjunction with bath and shower seating?
There are many different aids that could be added to a bathroom in conjunction with bath and shower seating depending on the needs of the user. Generally speaking, grab bars are an excellent way to ensure that a user constantly has something to grip onto to prevent slips and falls. These can be installed in the shower, or even on the wall near the bathtub to aid in getting in and out of the tub. When considering the bathtub specifically, a bath step could be helpful in aiding the user when getting in and out of the tub.