Bathroom Aids For The Elderly
Bathroom adaptations for the elderly – big and small – can make such a difference to our older parents’ quality of life. The focus of this article is bathroom aids for the elderly. From help getting in and out of the bath to the best shower aids, we cover it all here.
These mobility bathroom aids won’t just help your loved ones feel more independent and safe at home, but also give you peace of mind when caring for elderly parents.
Walk in baths
Bath help for older people, in particular, is easy to find, with plenty of products out there specifically designed to assist with mobility, comfort and style in the bathroom. Walk in baths are a brilliant way to maintain independence if it’s a struggle to get into a regular bath. Avoid the risk of injury or a fall with a walk-in bath that is easy to operate, offering you greater mobility. When it comes to bathroom adaptation for the elderly, a walk in bath is a great way to start for complete independence. We answer some key questions below.
How much is a walk in bath?
Depending on the exact features of your walk in bath, the price will vary. The more basic models can start for around £200-£300. However, the more advanced, high quality baths can range in price up to £1000 or more. This depends on the fitting and installation of the bath, too. The great thing about baths for the elderly is that they can be designed or installed to meet the needs of the individual.
How high is a walk-in bath step?
Usually, the step is deliberately as low as possible to give effortless entry. After all, they are designed with limited mobility in mind. Usually, they will not be more than around 9 inches high.
What standard safety features does a walk in bath have?
Most walk-in baths will come with:
- Textured anti slip surface to help prevent slips and falls
- Grab rails can also be added to help getting up and down once in the bath
- A thermostatic valve is a great way to regulate the water temperature. This can prevent scalds and burns.
A walk-in bath is a popular choice for those looking for bath help for the elderly. Even if you are simply reaching your senior years, and want to make life just a little easier, then a walk-in bath might be the way to go.
Who should install a walk-in bath?
Always take the time to find a good fitter who knows their stuff. The key requirement is that the bath will need to be fitted on a completely level surface.
How long does it take to install a walk-in bath?
Installation doesn’t really take long – only a day or two. If you’re giving your whole bathroom a revamp, though it can take longer.
Need to get clued up on bath lifts for senior people? ElWell can help! Before you make a decision on what bath lift to install in your home, read up on bath lifts below.
What is a bath lift?
A bath lift essentially works by lifting you up and into the bath. There are many types with various functions depending on your needs, which we’ll touch on below.
Motor-driven removable bath lifts
These are operated using a battery-powered, waterproof handset. You get onto the seat at bath rim height and, using the handset, lower the seat completely into the bath. You can use the same handset to raise the seat, too, when you’re ready to get out of it. This is a great option if your parent has agility in their legs and can move them over the side of the bath.
Inflatable cushion bath lifts
These inflatable plastic seats sit inside the bath and are easy to remove. You can inflate them with an electric pump, so the seat is level with the rim of the bath. This deflates once sat on so your parent can submerge comfortably into the bathwater. It’s easy to get out, too, as you simply re-inflate the seat!
Hydraulic (manual) removable bath lifts
This type of bath lift, you’ll find, is a little less common. They work in a similar way to powered removable lifts, but their core motion is controlled by body weight and the buoyancy of the water. When you’re ready to get out of the bath, sit upright, and push down on the bath rims. This releases a ‘hydraulic piston’, set at a personalised weight. This lifts you back up along with the buoyancy of the water. If you do choose this kind of bath lift, be aware that the person you’re looking for needs to be flexible enough to raise their arms as high as shoulder height. They’ll also need more arm strength than is usually required for powered lifts.
Fixed ‘band’ bath lifts
Fixed bath lifts, or band lifts, use a large fabric band on a roller. The fabric is attached to a unit that’s mounted on the wall, and the fabric passes over the bath, attaching to a unit fixed to the outer side of the bath. You will be able to sit on the band of fabric when taut, and release the band into the water at the touch of a button.
Financial assistance with bathroom adaptations
If you’re concerned that you may not be able to afford or cover the costs of necessary home adaptations, then you can apply for equipment through your local council. You can apply for equipment online if you are struggling with mobility around the house. For more information from the NHS regarding the process, and to find out if you are eligible, click here.
Other bath accessories
There are plenty of bath accessories out there to assist with bathroom adaptation with the elderly. Bathroom adaptations don’t have to stop with the bath itself. You can find plenty of bath accessories and additions to make every bath time a breeze. If your loved one has limited mobility or struggles getting in and out of the bath, perhaps one of the options below is the answer?
Bath boards work to provide a way to help you lift your legs into a bath. They’re also handy for providing seated support for general washing. Their design means they can be placed over the bathtub, and they consist of slats. Once in place, they are a stable base so you can feel confident when it comes to having a bath.
Top Tip: Make sure you find a design that fits the measurements of your own bath. Make sure it is securely fitted, as this adjustable fixing system ensures the board won’t move around when you’re using it. There are many materials you can use including moulded plastic, wood, coated metal, or a padded option. The choice is yours!
What is a bath step?
Bath steps are a great addition if you need a little help getting into the bath, but may not require a more permanent addition to your bathroom. They come in a range of sizes, and give that helping hand you need should you struggle slightly with mobility. Make sure you choose a design that’s sturdy, so the step won’t slip when it’s in use!
What is a bath bench?
A bath bench or transfer bench is a bathroom accessory that works to help elderly people get into the bath. Not only does it provide you with a safe and stable seat in the bath, but you can use to get into the bath, too. Many designs come with a built-in handle for support.
Bath seats are another great option if you’re struggling to lower yourself into the bath. They can be used to help you while you wash.
Buying the right bath seat for you
What’s more, you can find bath seats for a relatively cheap price. They are a great addition for those who need a little helping hand in the bathroom.
Now, these differ from bath lifts in that they raise the body from above, as opposed to lifting from below. Be aware though, that due to this they tend to be more expensive. This can be worth it, though, as they raise you high enough that you don’t need to lift your legs over the bath rim.
Bath hoists that fix to the floor
You can install a bath hoist that fixes to the floor, with a design that still lifts you up to the appropriate height with ease.
Bath hoists that fix to the ceiling
Another option is to affix your bath hoist to the ceiling. For those with limited knee mobility or issues with their hips, this is a great option. Depending on the space you have to work with, you can find a bath hoist that works for you.
Bathroom grab rails for the elderly
Grab rails are a great addition to any home. Discreet, easy to affix and very handy, senior people can turn their bathroom into a completely accessible space with a grab rail. Grab rails are a great living aid as they provide that extra support for tricky movements such as lowering yourself into the bath, and getting out of the bath. For some, the simple addition of a grab rail will be enough to provide complete independence and confidence in your own home.
Types of grab rail
There are plenty of different bathroom grab rails for older adults looking for a little extra support. Grab rails can be bought in a range of styles, sizes and materials depending on your exact needs. The length and design can suit you and can be designed to fit with your current bathroom aesthetic, should you need this. We would recommend plastic ridged grab rails for the bathroom as stainless steel – whilst looking nicer – can get wet and lead to a slip.
Non slip mats and bathroom flooring
Non slip mats are another way to subtlety transform your bathroom and make it much safer for everyday use, especially if you sometimes feel unbalanced on foot. Non slip mats offer extra security to prevent unwanted falls occurring when you are stepping in and out of the bath or shower. You can even take it one step further with non-slip bathroom flooring. Non slip tiles are available from a wide array of suppliers; you can give your bathroom a makeover at the same time, should you need!
Walk in shower for the elderly
What is a walk-in shower?
A walk-in shower is pretty similar to most showers you find installed, however, it differs in that there is no raised entry, so if you struggle to lift up your feet for any reason, you won’t with this design.
Benefits of a walk-in shower
Not only can a walk-in shower be a modern and stylish addition to your bathroom, it can also make for a much easier shower process with less chance of slips or falls, as you do not need to lift or raise yourself into the shower. For a seamless shower experience, consider a walk-in shower.
Cost of walk in showers for the elderly?
The cost, again, will depend on the exact measurements of the space. If you need to have the shower fitted to meet certain requirements, this may increase the price. Similarly, the exact design will have an effect on the price, plus any additional features such as a foldable seat or grab rail.
Some elderly people may find that their grip might not be as strong as it used to be. If you are finding you struggle with grip, then tap turners may be the answer! They can be fitted securely, and colour coded for the hot and cold taps, so that you don’t get caught out when you are filling up your bath or washing your hands alone.
We hope you found our article on bathroom aids for the elderly useful. Our site is dedicated to giving you advice, top tips and ideas to help your parents live well. Check out our articles on helping them to stay independent, prevent falls or understand what care options are out there. And if you think we’re missing a topic you want to know about, then get in touch!