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Accessible baths and showers for the elderly

Helpful devices to take the anxiety out of bathing

Wednesday 19th July 2017

As we get older, most of us get a little less flexible and mobile. There’s no shame in it, it’s just one of the many facts of life. There are some who planned ahead for the physical changes, doing yoga and Pilates to keep their joints moving fully, but in many cases, more practical and immediate solutions are needed.

So, if you have found yourself a little less mobile recently, you will appreciate that showering and bathing may potentially become problematic. If you still value your independence, but struggle stepping in and out of baths, worry about slipping or find it hard to stand for the length of time it takes to shower, what options are open to you? We’ve collected the best practical shower and bath aids for when you are feeling less mobile.

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Bath boards and chairs

Bath boards offer a simple, inexpensive solution that don’t require any installation, but can make a big difference to those concerned about slipping as they get in and out of the bath. The board sits across the top of the bath so that you can sit on it, swing your legs into the bath and then lower yourself into the water, or bathe while sitting on the board. Bath chairs operate on a similar principle except they sit in the bath and some are available that swivel to make for easier access.

Bath grab rails

An alternative to bath boards, grab rails attach to the side of the bath, offering the user a sturdy handle to hold onto while getting in and out. These are more suitable for users who are still mobile enough to climb in and out of the bath but are a little unsteady or concerned about slipping.

Bath steps

These come in several different variations, from a simple, straightforward box that you step onto to make getting into the bath easier, to the more advanced ‘stacked’ variety. The stacked steps unfold into several rungs that sit against the side of the bath. When used with a bath board and/or a grab rail, this can make getting in and out of the bath a lot less challenging.

Bath hoists and lifts

For those with more impaired mobility, bath hoists are a solution that, while quite expensive and require professional installation, mean retaining precious independence and privacy in being able to bathe unaided. The user sits in the chair outside of the bath and the hoist then raises them and lowers them into the bath. Hoists come with a safety belt to ensure the user doesn’t slip off at any point. 

Bath lifts are a less expensive version of the hoist that, in some cases, are portable, so you can take them with you in order to have an accessible bath if you’re staying away from home. The seat raises up to the top of the bath so that the user can sit on it and then the controls are used to lower it back down into the water.

Accessible showers

For many people, having a bath is quite time-consuming and not a practical option for everyday bathing. There’s no need for reduced mobility to remove showering as an option, especially when shower seats for the elderly can make it so much easier. Shower seats are comfortable, durable and can fold away against the wall. Showering can also remove the dilemma of climbing in and out of a bath if you install a walk-in shower enclosure. Combined with a shower seat, this option can take the stress out of showering.

Find out more about Mira Independent Living Range design with your needs in mind.