Regardless of your age and any disabilities or age-related conditions, you should still enjoy independence in your bathroom, walk-in shower or walk-in bath. While disabilities and ailments can create challenges to overcome, many bath aids for the elderly and general changes can be made to make life easier.
The bathroom, in particular, is an area of the home with many hazards. But by using the right equipment and being aware of these hazards, you can reduce the risk of harm and support those who need it.
This article looks at simple ways to adapt your bathroom space to provide bath help for the elderly or disabled person. These changes can make your bathroom more functional and enjoyable while maintaining a stylish bathroom space.
Request a Free Brochure
Simply fill out a quick form and see how we can transform the way you bathe.
- Be compassionate and maintain dignity
- Making it easier to use the loo
- Install grab rails where needed
- Make the most of a walk-in bath or walk-in shower
- Use slip-resistant mats
- Use a shower seat
- Adjustable or floating worktops
- Install an emergency pull string
- Provide extra assistance
What can you do to improve your bathroom space for elderly or disabled individuals?
When using the bathroom, it’s essential to feel safe and secure. The bathroom is a common place to experience slips, falls and injuries; as such, changes are needed to make the space easy to complete everyday tasks.
The NHS advises on the importance of home adaptations to make your space a safer place for everyone. When considering bathing solutions for the elderly, the changes that are made could be big or small, such as:
- Adding a bath lift
- Using a walk-in shower
- Installing multiple grab rails
- Increasing toilet height
- Widening doorways
- Lowering worktops
Before we jump into what changes you can make to your bathroom, there are a few general housekeeping areas to be aware of. Firstly, ensure the bathroom has been fitted with any necessary bathing aids before the individual needs to use it. Ensure this equipment is up to date, working correctly and safe to use. Check the room is warm, the water temperature is correct, everywhere is dry, and all toiletries are within reaching distance.
Now we will cover our top nine tips to provide extra assistance and aid in the bathroom. Remember, these features aren’t just for convenience. They’re ways to help your loved one retain their independence which is a vital physiological part of life.
1. Be compassionate and maintain dignity
Even if bathroom aids have been installed, an individual may need more support. Helping a friend or family member use the bathroom can sometimes be a complex process, and it’s essential to consider the person’s dignity and privacy.
If you need to escort someone to the bathroom, ensure you do so at their pace. Before assisting them with whatever they need to do, be sure to chat them through the process and ask permission to help them. This will make the process much easier and more dignified for all involved.
2. Making it easier to use the loo
A standard-height toilet means people have to lower themselves down further, which can increase the likelihood of a fall. A toilet with a higher seat is an excellent addition to your bathroom to improve mobility. It can give the user greater independence and is ideal for those with limited lower-body mobility.
Even better, the height difference is very subtle so that it won’t affect the appearance of your bathroom. If you care for someone with limited mobility, a raised toilet seat can also help you as a carer. The distance between sitting and standing is significantly reduced, making it easier to transfer the user safely.
3. Install grab rails where needed
Grab rails are one of the most popular showering aids in a bathroom. They’re simple to install and easy to use while being extremely effective. You can install grab rails wherever they are needed in the bathroom and in any position to suit specific needs.
A common spot is above the bath, making it easier to get in and out of the tub or shower. Even better, they come in various designs, so you can place one in your bathroom without spoiling the look or decor.
4. Make the most of a walk-in bath or walk-in shower
A walk-in bath or shower pod is a must-have addition to your accessibility bathroom if you’re looking for the best mobility aids. This is a permanent solution to making bathing experiences more accessible and safer.
Walk-in showers or wet rooms are designed to be accessed with ease and feature built-in support such as:
- Grab rails
- Easy temperature controls
- Non-trip shower trays
- More space
- Fold-away seating
The low or no-threshold shower tray makes getting in and out of the shower much safer and more accessible. This is ideal for users with low mobility who still want to maintain their independence when it comes to showering.
A walk-in bath may be more suited to your needs or preferences. These are designed to make the bathing experience safer and more enjoyable for those with a disability or low mobility. Features include:
- Non-slip flooring
- Easy entry point such as low entry doors
- Seating for bathing
- Easy temperature control
Many designs are also stylish and modern, featuring chromotherapy and spa therapy options to make the experience all the more luxurious.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to make such a permanent change to your bathroom but still want to create an accessible bathing experience, you could consider a bath lift. This powered seating device is attached to your bathtub to lower and elevate the user in and out of the tub. They can be used independently or are commonly used to assist carers in helping someone with limited mobility access the bath safely.
5. Use slip-resistant mats
Bathrooms are inevitably slippy, and one of the best and most affordable ways to aid an elderly or disabled person in the bathroom is by using slip-resistant mats. These suctioned rubber mats can be used in the bathtub, shower tray or bathroom floor to provide friction and reduce the chance of slipping. The individuals can then move around the bathroom with more security.
6. Use a shower seat
Shower seats are a no-brainer to improve the safety of the shower area. A foldable seat can be used if your shower is on the smaller side, or you can install a fixed shower seat which allows the user to sit before washing comfortably and securely.
Not only are you taking the weight off your feet, but for those with limited lower mobility, these seats are a game changer to continue enjoying the showering experience. Shower seats are beneficial aids for wheelchair users as they allow for easier access and transfer into the shower.
7. Adjustable or floating worktops
If someone struggles to reach inside a basin, it makes the simple task of washing your hands or face difficult, which can decrease personal hygiene. For example, a wheelchair user needs to get right up to the sink or worktop to be able to use it. The best solution, in this case, is to replace your cabinets or standard sink area with a floating sink or a height-adjustable model.
Floating basins are as simple as they sound. The sink unit is floating with free space all the way to the floor, which allows you to fit a wheelchair comfortably underneath. This is also beneficial for a carer supporting the elderly person, as two people can fit more comfortably into the space.
Another option is to use height-adjustable sinks or worktops that allow you to move the basin to your desired height every time you use it. This is an effective bathroom aid for people with restricted growth, and thanks to its adjustable nature, it doesn’t affect your bathroom decor.
8. Install an emergency pull string
A must-have bathroom aid for any elderly or disabled person is an emergency pull string. These are strategically placed cords that provide an easy and fast way to call for assistance. They’re ideal for bathrooms as you’re unlikely to be wearing a personal form of contact while in the bath or shower.
Once pulled, it will send a signal to caregivers, who can then come to help. This is not only an effective way of keeping the user safe in times of danger, but it can also help to maintain some form of independence too. The individual can be supported as and when they feel they need it but otherwise left alone to complete their everyday bathroom tasks.
9. Provide extra assistance
Some of the most useful bathroom aids are the most simple of all. In some cases, these are the finishing touches that will help the user maintain their independence and use the bathroom alone. Examples could include:
- Reaching aids: These are long pieces of equipment that have gripping jaws on one end and a handle on the other. Once the trigger is squeezed, you can pick up items in the bathroom, such as towels and clothing, without having to overreach and risk falling.
- Tap-turner: These nifty accessories are useful for twisting taps without needing much strength – ideal for those with reduced strength.
- Temperature controls: Easy-to-use temperature controls allow you to control the temperature of your bath or shower with ease. They’re designed in a way that you don’t have to worry about knocking them, and you can focus on manoeuvring safely instead.
In some cases, it may get to the point where physical bathroom aids aren’t enough alone, and your loved one requires extra assistance. At this time, it’s best to employ a carer or train yourself adequately to support the individual.
It’s time to safety-proof your bathroom
You may choose to make quick fixes to your bathroom, such as installing grab rails and slip-resistant mats, or you may opt to make more permanent changes, such as purchasing a walk-in shower or bath. Either way, finding a way to make your bathroom space suitable for elderly and disabled people is important to ensure a confident, comfortable and safe experience.
At Mobility Plus, we specialise in creating an experience that suits your personal needs. Our wide range of walk-in showers and walk-in baths have the very best built-in features to make your bathroom secure while maintaining style too. If you want to talk more about this subject or need advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.