Help Getting In And Out Of The Bath (Updated 2023)
Having a bath is relaxing is meant to be relaxing – but for our elderly parents, getting in and out of the bath can become a problem. In this article, we look at why this is and round up our favourite bathroom aids for the elderly which can help getting in and out of the bath and maintain their dignity.
We’ve written this in order, from bathroom aids that help people who just need some support, through to bathroom equipment when someone can’t get into the actual tub.
Bathroom adaptions and mobility aids can make a real difference to how independent our parents feel. And as they can improve home safety for the elderly, we can feel reassured too. It’s a win win!
If your parent has a shower at home and needs some help with shower safety, then we’ve written all about it here.
Help Getting In And Out Of The Bath
As we age we lose muscle mass which explains a number of elderly mobility problems and balance issues. On top of this, common elderly disabilities such as arthritis can cause huge pain and discomfort. It can be harder to move around as easily as before and actions which previously were easy, now become more difficult.
This is why older adults can find getting in and out of the bath harder. Whilst it can be easier to take a shower than a bath, we understand that fitting a shower or wet room isn’t always an option.
A lot of these bathroom aids have names which can be used interchangeably – which we appreciate can be a bit confusing when you’re trying to work out the best solution for your parents. We hope our analysis below helps.
So read on for our favourite bath aids to help getting in and out of the bath. A relaxing soak should be just around the corner!
The simple invention of bath steps for the elderly could make all the difference to your parents’ bathing. You place the bath step next to the bath and, like the name suggests, it adds height and makes it easier to step into the bath.
This is a bathroom safety option for people who still have the strength and mobility to get in and out of the tub and need some extra support.
It might seem counter-intuitive but we wouldn’t recommend a bath step with handles. They’re often not the best quality (fairly flimsy) and your parent could rely on the handle to hold their weight when it may buckle – especially dangerous given bath water will be involved.
Instead, we prefer a sturdier and more compact adjustable height bath step. With four height options, it can be suitable for more than one person (or grow with the person if they lose more mobility and need that extra height to get in and out of the bath).
It slides right up to the bath and is non-slip so won’t budge (just check how stable it is if it’s on a bath mat instead of straight onto the floor however). It’s a great value bath step that is small and easy to hide when not in use – especially important if other people use the bathroom too.
Now these small but mighty bathroom aids are a good invention! Anti slip bath mats increase safety in the bathroom. Place them at the bottom of the bath tub and they will aid balance when getting in and out which is important for elderly falls prevention. And as one in three over 65s will fall over at home at least once a year, anything we can do to minimise this risk helps.
Non slip bath mats are a good value option if your parent suffers from balance problems but otherwise can move around the bathroom well.
We like this option which rolls up thin when not being used, is mildew resistant and has 145 suction cups for added steadiness. To keep it extra hygienic, spray it with anti-bac detergent monthly.
Bathroom grab rails help to improve safety and steady your parent – we recommend them to lots of clients, who see them as essential bathroom aids. Go for substance over style with these bath safety rails, and choose the fluted plastic rails rather than the stainless steel variety (they have better grip with wet hands).
Available in a variety of sizes, grab rails can be placed around the bathroom such as on the wall of the bath (and indeed, your elderly parents’ house). When it comes to grab bar installation, a handyman can easily put them up.
We would go for wall mounted rails with screws (like this version) rather than a stick on grab rail or suction grab bar, as they can take more weight and are more secure.
If your parent uses a shower too, it’s an idea to put in a shower grab rail too. Go round the bathroom with them and work out how they use the room and where they need extra support.
Another option is a specific grab rail for the bath. Attached vertically to the side of the bath, this rail allows for greater stability when getting in and out of the bath. We like this best selling version.
Provided it’s fitted securely (definitely worth getting help from a handyman if your DIY skills aren’t up to it), it will help your elderly parent stand up from a sitting position and use it for safety and leverage when getting in and out of the bath. Its height allows them support as they work with the depth of the bath.
The inflatable bath cushion can also be called a bath lift. It’s a great option for your elderly parent, making bathing easier and more relaxing.
The waterproof bath cushion comes with a battery compressor to inflate and deflate it. Placed in the tub and inflated there, the bath cushion seat gently lowers your elderly parent into the bath and raises them back when required, all at the touch of a button.
It’s good for people with upper body stability as they will still need to lift themselves up and move onto the floor.
When it comes to bath cushions for the elderly, this inflatable bathing cushion is a winner.
Bath seats and bath chairs for the elderly are raised seats which suction grip onto the base of the bath. They add height to the base – the user sits on the bath seat instead of the bottom of the tub.
Who would benefit from a bath seat? They’re a good option for someone who just needs some support getting in and out of the bath, as they will need to use their own strength as well (or they can also get a bath board, see below!).
We all know that baths are deep, and when you’re losing mobility the act of getting in and out takes time and isn’t always possible. So the bath seat effectively reduces the distance to travel. Allowing your parent to still get a soak without the struggle.
They can easily be removed if more than one person uses the bathroom.
We like this bath seat – it’s a dependable, good quality and affordable brand.
A bath board for the elderly gives a stepped approach to getting in and out of the bath. It works well with a bath seat, if your parent needs more assistance. The waterproof bath board sits securely across the top of the bath (opposite end to the taps!), and offers a stepped approach to getting in. They sit on this and then can move themselves safely and comfortably onto the bath chair.
If a time came when your parent could not get into the bath to use the seat, then the bath board can be used on its own. They would sit on this and use the shower head to wash. Please note though that bath boards do not usually have back support so if this is the case for your elderly parent, you may want to look at more suitable products (like those below).
This Helping Hands bath board comes with a handle for that extra support (they don’t all do this) and takes weight up to 31 stone.
When it comes to bath transferring, a bath lift for the elderly could be the answer. Similar to an inflatable bath cushion but with more support, a bath lift is a structure which gently raises and lowers for help getting in and out of the bath.
With an electric bath lift, your parent can control the speed and this model has suction feet for a sturdy base. It’s a great option for people who still want to be immersed in the bath but lack the strength or mobility to do this themselves.
This Bellavita Bath Lift from Drive is the most lightweight on the market. It lowers to 6cm from the base of the bath and reclines to 50 degrees allowing your mum or dad to have a relaxing bath, safe in the knowledge they can easily get out after.
A bath transfer bench (also known as a shower bench) is for people who have difficulty getting into the actual bath tub (or would have trouble standing in a shower).
These bathroom aids attach to the side of the bath. Your elderly parent sits on the bath transfer, and then slides across into place. From there, they can use the shower head to wash.
This video demonstrates how to use a bath transfer bench as it can be quite confusing to get your head around!
Like on the video, we recommend a swivel bath bench like this from Platinum Health Carousel. It’s padded so is more comfortable on frail skin and are easier to use.
Bath hoists are solid options for people who want to continue using a bath but find bath transferring difficult. There are two options which we talk you through below.
Electric Bath Hoists
These bath hoists are either side fitting or can be fitted at the end of the bath (you choose the model based on the size of your bathroom and shape of bath). Incredibly strong, durable and simple to use, it securely fixes to the floor and is a very safe way to get in and out of the bath.
Your elderly parent sits in the seat and uses the controls to lift them up and down. Electric bath hoists are good if your parent wants to keep bathing alone – if they’re able and have the mental capacity, they can work it without the need for a carer.
Manual Bath Hoists
Just like the above, but there’s a handle which when wound, lifts into and out of the bath. They have seat belts for added safety.
Getting in and out of the bath gets harder as we age, but these bathroom aids show there’s many solutions to help your elderly parent keep bathing as usual and maintain their level of personal care. Keeping up their usual routine can help to foster a sense of independence, helping them stay happy, safe and healthy for years to come.
As we age we lose muscle mass which explains a number of elderly mobility problems and balance issues. On top of this, common elderly disabilities such as arthritis can cause huge pain and discomfort. It can be harder to move around as easily as before and actions which previously were easy (like getting in and out of the bath), now become more difficult.
There’s a range of bathroom aids which can help – depending on price and your elderly parent’s needs, you can work out what’s best suited. From a bath step to an electric hoist, there really is something for every ability.