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Four Bathroom Assistance Accessories for Seniors or Those with Special Needs

Four Bathroom Assistance Accessories for Seniors or Those with Special Needs

There are several accessories that can make navigating around a bathroom safer and more convenient, especially if you are a senior, have certain access challenges, or are a full or part time caregiver to another person who needs additional assistance in various activities of daily living. The bathroom in and of itself offers some unique challenges to all and lays claim as the number one room in any home where the greatest number of serious injuries occurs. You may also be interested in our other article titled, “What is the Most Dangerous Room in the House?”.

I can remember years ago, when my grandfather was caring for grandmother who at the time, was suffering from Alzheimer’s. He used several bathroom assistance accessories during this period of caregiving. Whether you are looking for a device to help you be more independent while showering, going to the restroom, or looking for ways to help while caring for a loved one, there are many tools available to make your life and responsibilities simpler. Below is a list of our favorite and most useful bathroom accessories on the market today.

Transfer benchTransfer Tub and Shower Benches: There are a variety of devices available that ease the difficulty and risk of moving to and from the bathtub or helping someone to do so. In addition, they also make the process more comfortable and convenient. Some are intended strictly as transfer devices, while others include as part of the device a comfortable, often padded, chair to sit on while showering. The bench part spans the bathtub wall with one set of legs outside the tub, and the other set in the tub.

The transfer system can be as simple as a type of bench with a slick surface, so the person can slide themselves across the surface by holding on to the handle on the far side of the bench and pulling. They simply slide across and position their legs to be inside the tub. Others make this process even easier by including frictionless ball bearing seats that slide with very little effort. Most transfer benches come with a backrest for comfort and support. With some models the bench or chair is a swivel configuration to make the transition from a wheelchair even more convenient. Some models include a removeable commode for easy discard of waste that may occur while showering.

Handles are also safety features that in many cases offer varying position mounts, so they can be adjusted to the size and arm length of the individual. Regardless of the model or its individual features, they all increase the convenience and comfort of the important activity of daily living while also reducing the risk of slips and falls.

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shower chairShower Chair: Some individuals don’t need the assistance to safely move into and out of the tub or shower, but when in the shower prefer to sit. They may have balance issues or may experience leg fatigue that is alleviated by simply sitting. Some models will have open seats to prevent pressure on sensitive area, and these may also include a portable commode that can be attached underneath the seat. Raised handles or slot hand holes help ensure better grip and peace of mind against falls.

Some models come with arm rests while others do not. All chairs though have sturdy legs for strong support and rubber leg pads to prevent slippage. You can even get chairs that are adjustable to recline at multiple angles for comfort and preference.

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raised toilet seatRaised Toilet Seat: An elevated or raised toilet seat reduces the distance a person needs to bend at the hips and knees to reach the toilet. This can be beneficial for a number of reasons.

  • A person who has recently undergone hip surgery, such as received a total hip arthroplasty (hip replacement), is directed to avoid going below a 90-degree angle at the hip as it can result in the new artificial hip dislocating from the hip socket. A raised toilet seat reduces the amount of hip flexion that is required to reach the toilet, well before they would reach the 90-degrees mark.
  • A person suffering from arthritis or another type of inflammatory condition would have less distance to travel and thus less stress to place on the inflamed joint lessening the pain experienced.
  • Some elderly individuals may lack the necessary hip or leg strength to lower themselves down or push themselves up from the normal level or height of a toilet.

Elevated toilet seats typically extend the toilet seat 2 to 6 inches above the original seat height to accommodate individuals of varying heights. They also come in two standard types of seats; a round front (about 16.5” long) and an elongated style (typically 18.5” long) to best fit the type of toilet the individual person has at home.

There are also attachments that can be purchased to further provide for individual needs. They include:

  • Arm supports provide an additional safety feature for balance when sitting, but more importantly serve as a base from which to the person can push themselves up from the toilet, a much-needed convenience for those with weakened or damaged lower extremities.
  • Splash guards help protect the person from splashing and accidents that may happen when there is difficulty in full range of motion movements or muscular weakness.

It should be noted that some raised toilet seats are designed to replace the existing toilet seat while others fit with brackets to the existing toilet seat. Regardless of the type of elevated seat purchased, you should consider how easily it will be to keep the devise clean and provide a more hygienic condition.

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shower head hoseShower head Hose: A shower head hose provides an extension to the shower head so that a person can more easily control the location of the spray, reach downward to more effectively spray a person in the bathtub, such as when cleaning a child or when sitting on a shower bench or chair. The average length of a shower hose is 60 inches, but models up to 84 inches are available.

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