Guide to the Best Bathroom Equipment for Seniors

Key Points

  • Seniors often suffer falls and injuries in their bathroom at home.

  • The best bathroom equipment for the elderly makes the bathroom safer and more accessible as you age.

  • Look for safety risks in your bathroom, like slippery surfaces, hard edges, and poor lighting.

Is your bathroom a quiet respite for bathing and grooming? As you age, it’s also a common site for injuries, but the best bathroom equipment for the elderly can prevent damaging slips and falls.

The best bathroom equipment for the elderly keeps your bathroom safe and accessible. A fall can quickly take a toll on your quality of life and your independence. 

Try these ideas and safety products to fall-proof your bathroom in your senior years.

Safety Risks in the Bathroom

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for seniors. Falls in the bathroom are more than twice as likely to cause an injury than other falls in the home. These injuries often occur when people get in or out of the tub or shower, or use the toilet.

More than one in four seniors falls each year. Only about 20 percent of these falls cause injuries like a broken bone or head injury, but when they do, it quickly changes your quality of life and independence. You could have trouble getting around, doing everyday activities, or living alone. 

Fall risks are significant if you live alone or have limited mobility, as you may be unable to call for help if you have an accident. Take steps to minimize these risks and make the bathroom as safe and accessible as possible for your senior years.

The following are some of the seniors' most common risks in the bathroom.

Slippery Surfaces

Wet and slippery surfaces, such as the bathtub, shower, or bathroom floor, can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Soap, shampoo, or other bath products make surfaces especially slippery.

Limited Mobility

You may experience reduced mobility, strength, or flexibility. Moving around your bathroom or performing basic tasks, like sitting down or standing up from the toilet becomes more difficult.

Sharp or Hard Edges

Sharp or hard edges, like the corners of the bathtub or countertop, can cause injuries if you fall or bump into them. You may bruise more easily, or your skin becomes thin and fragile, so these bumps cause more severe injury than when you were younger.

Inadequate Lighting

Poor lighting makes it difficult to see potential hazards or navigate the bathroom safely, especially at night. People in their 60s need three times more light for good vision than when they were younger.

Lack of Safety Features

If you don’t have safety features like grab bars, non-slip mats, or raised toilet seats, it isn’t easy to maintain balance and access support while using the bathroom. Grab bars help you maintain your balance, lessen your fatigue while standing, and hold some of your weight while you maneuver. Of course, they also provide something to grab onto if you slip or fall.

Therapy To Prevent Bathroom Falls

You can prevent many falls in the home with better habits and improved mobility. Occupational therapy is one remedy that reduces your fall risk in your home. 

An occupational therapist (OT) comes to your home to conduct a safety assessment, which Medicare may even cover if you have been in a fall. The OT evaluates your ability to perform daily activities in your home, teaches you how to accomplish these activities more safely, and suggests home modifications to reduce potential fall hazards. 

Therapist assisting senior in bathroom

You can also reduce your fall risk by doing Individualized exercises prescribed by a physical therapist, home-based progressive exercise programs, and community exercise programs that improve balance and lower body strength, such as Tai Chi.

Accessible Bathroom Design for Seniors

You can make your bathroom safer by incorporating bathing accessories for seniors. Plan carefully and consider your needs — now and in the future — to make the most of your adaptations.

"Environmental adaptation is an important intervention to help older adults remain at home independently and ease the burden of care on their families," says Dr. Laura Gitlin, Director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Here are some design features that reduce your fall risk in your bathroom.

Non-Slip Surfaces

Ensure that all surfaces in your bathroom are non-slip, including the floor, shower or bathtub, and other surfaces where water may accumulate. Install non-slip tile or vinyl flooring or add non-slip mats or adhesive strips to slippery surfaces to reduce your fall risk.

Walk-In Tub or Shower

A walk-in tub or shower is an excellent option when you have difficulty stepping over the side of a traditional bathtub or shower. These models typically feature a low threshold and an easy-to-open door that allows seniors to enter and exit safely.

Comfort Height Toilet

A comfort height toilet seat stands between 17 and 19 inches from the ground, whereas a standard height toilet seat stands at around 15 inches. A comfort height toilet makes it easier for seniors with limited mobility to stand up and sit down to use the toilet.

Comfort Height Vanity

A comfort height vanity or sink is easier to use than a standard height model because it reduces your need to bend over or strain your back. While the standard bathroom counter height is between 30 and 34 inches, comfort height vanities are around 36 inches high.

Adequate Lighting

Good lighting ensures that you can see potential hazards and navigate your bathroom safely. Install bright, adjustable lighting by adding fixtures or installing energy-efficient LED bulbs. A night light ensures you can find the light switch for nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Accessible Storage

Store your frequently used items between hip and shoulder height to reduce bending and stooping. If you use a wheelchair, you’ll want items lower, between 10 inches and 48 inches above the floor. 

Products To Make Your Bathroom Safer

You don't have to bring in a construction crew to make your bathroom safer and more functional. Bathroom safety products help you avoid slips and falls and make using your bathroom more comfortable. New designs even enhance the decor of your room.

Grab Bars

Grab bars are essential equipment for a senior’s bathroom. They provide a secure handhold to help you get in and out of the tub or shower, sit and stand from the toilet, and move around the bathroom. Grab bars come in different sizes, shapes, and materials, and you can install them horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, depending on your needs.

Choose a slip-resistant grab bar with adequate weight capacity, and install it securely near your toilet and shower. When you choose grab bars, consider the weight capacity, the installation method, and the location. 

Grab bars on bathroom tub

Shower Chairs and Benches

Shower chairs or benches are another essential bathroom item for seniors. They provide a place to sit while you shower, reducing your risk of falls. They also make bathing more comfortable and less fatiguing. 

Shower chairs and benches come in different sizes and materials, like plastic, metal, or teak wood, and they can be fixed or folding. Choose a shower chair or bench with stability, comfort, and adequate weight capacity. Look for adjustable legs, non-slip feet, and a backrest.

One hard-working option is Dr Kay’s Adjustable Bath Chair. This chair weighs only four pounds and safely holds up to 350 pounds, plus it’s a full two inches higher than many of its competitors — it adjusts from 12.5 inches to 18.5 inches. 

Unlike other brands, Dr Kay’s shower bench has engineered, high-strength cross bars that prevent the seat legs from splaying. An ample anti-slip platform and broad base provide maximum stability, while the non-slip rubber feet ensure the bench won't slip out from under you. The chair easily lifts with built-in side handles. 

This heavy-duty anodized aluminum seat assembles with hand-saving wing-tipped screws that you can hand screw into place without any tools. 

Dr Kay’s Adjustable Bath Chair

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Independence Medical Shower Bench is a sturdy, no-frills option for your bath or shower. The padded seat and armrests provide comfort and prevent possible skin tears. Padding is warmer to the touch than old-style hard plastic and provides added protection against slipping and sliding.

The blue shower bench is easier to see against standard white bathroom fixtures, unlike old-style white or gray shower chairs that blend into the background. Blue helps cognitively and visually impaired users prevent slips, trips, and falls, the leading cause of death by injury in seniors.

A rust-free aluminum frame is height-adjustable without tools, and the polyurethane padding is easy to clean and will never absorb water.

For a spa experience in your bath, choose the Zhuoyue Bamboo Spa Bath Shower Stool & Bench with Storage Shelf. It’s versatile and practical, with a two-tier storage shelf and side handles to hold your towels and bath items.

Made of solid bamboo, the smooth, curved seat is comfortable for showering or shaving your legs. With a 300-pound capacity and rubber feet pads, this bench is stable and safe. It’s easy to assemble with built-in nuts and written instructions. 

This shower bench is attractive enough for a stool or table in any room.

Zhuoyue Bamboo Spa Bath Shower Stool & Bench with Storage Shelf

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Raised Toilet Seats

You can attach raised toilet seats to any toilet to add height to the seat. They make sitting down or standing from the toilet easier and reduce strain on your knees and hips. Raised toilet seats come in different heights and styles; some have arms or locking mechanisms.

When choosing a raised toilet seat, consider the height, weight capacity, and compatibility with your toilet model. Some raised toilet seats require installation, while others are portable and you can place them directly on the toilet bowl. Ensure the raised toilet seat is stable and secure and doesn't shift or wobble.

Handheld Showerheads

Handheld showerheads are permanently installed as part of your plumbing fixtures or attached to an existing showerhead. They direct water flow where you need it, so you don’t need to move around or stretch to reach difficult areas. 

When you choose a handheld showerhead, consider the hose length, weight, and ease of use. A lightweight and flexible hose makes it easier to maneuver the showerhead, while a non-slip grip can enhance safety and comfort. Ensure your shower head has a flow control valve to prevent sudden temperature changes or water pressure shifts.

Foot Scrubbers

Many seniors find it challenging to reach their feet, and bending to wash them in the shower is problematic and may cause a fall. A foot scrubber makes this easier and provides a pleasant massage for your feet. It also keeps your feet healthy with improved circulation and cleanliness.

The meidong Silicone Shower Foot Scrubber is a foot scrubber made from soft, pliable, durable silicone material that is safe for the bath and shower. Silicone suction cups on the bottom securely grip the shower floor, even when wet.

Many skin brushes use PVC bristles, which can scratch and injure your delicate skin. Meidong silicone foot scrubber uses silicone bristles, gently stimulating your feet and cleaning without causing skin damage.

Easy to wear and clean, the meidong Silicone Shower Foot Scrubber simplifies your foot care routine and makes bathing easier.

meidong Silicone Shower Foot Scrubber

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Anti-Slip Mats and Tapes

Anti-slip mats and tapes are an affordable and straightforward solution to improve bathroom safety. Place them on the bathroom floor, bathtub, or shower to prevent slips and falls, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Anti-slip mats and tapes come in different sizes, shapes, and colors and can be adhesive or non-adhesive.

Transfer Benches

A transfer bath bench eliminates stepping over the tub's edge. You slide into the bath while seated, lifting each leg up and into the tub.

The Drive Medical Tub Transfer Bench with Adjustable Backrest helps you enter and exit the bath for renewed independence. It is safe and secure and accommodates any bathroom.

This bench has a blow-molded, adjustable plastic seat with dual-column extending legs, which are adjustable in half-inch increments. Plus, it has a stabilizing backrest for extra security.

Drainage holes prevent water from pooling, making the bath bench more comfortable, less slippery, and more secure during transitions in and out of the tub.

Drive Medical Tub Transfer Bench with Adjustable Backrest

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Add These Safety Products to Your Bathroom

You don’t need major remodeling or expensive upgrades to make your bathroom safer and more accessible. Bathroom equipment adds features to avoid slips and falls and maintain your independence in the bathroom. 

Take a good look at the risks in your bathroom, make simple modifications, swap in assistive devices, and practice safety measures in order to meet your needs. Enjoy spa-like rejuvenation in your home bathroom. 

Follow GoldYears for more great ideas for your senior home.

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