Are you or an aging loved one increasingly struggling with mobility issues that make bathing or showering a challenge? For an elderly person with limited mobility, this everyday personal hygiene task can become seriously high risk.
A sudden slip or fall in older people is much more likely to lead to significant injury and the prevalence of these types of incidences is much higher when water is involved. For this reason, preventing falls through the use of a shower chair and other daily living aids is a must.
If you’re researching how you can reduce the risk of falls while bathing and enhance independent living for older people, you’ve come to the right place.
Challenges Faced By Seniors And Caregivers During Showering
Until you have experienced mobility challenges brought on by age or seen them first-hand as a carer, it can be hard to understand why showering is a challenge. After all, this is something most adults have navigated with ease their entire lives, why is it suddenly so difficult?
As we age we become much less stable on our feet and our balance becomes harder to maintain. Add in a reduction in spacial awareness and flexibility and simple tasks such as bending to retrieve a shampoo bottle can quickly lead to injury.
These factors also make it harder to stay on top of personal hygiene, reaching hard-to-wash areas or having the energy to properly wash hair can all become so much more difficult.
For caregivers, aiding in showering poses similar challenges, there is limited space and the risk of accidentally knocking someone off balance is quite high.
To ensure safety and a proper shower, additional support is usually needed. The solution? Shower aids.
What Are Shower Aids For The Elderly?
Shower aids are any daily living aid linked with making the process of bathing or showering safer to undertake. They can be for older adults seeking to shower independently with less fall risk or for use in conjunction with a caregiver’s support.
Different Types Of Shower Aids
Shower chairs – designed to be placed within a shower stall, these chairs are entirely waterproof. They usually have a mix of features aimed at making showering more comfortable and safer such as non-slip feet, grab handles and holes for drainage.
They can be in the style of a chair with a supportive back or as a stool if no back support is needed.
Bath benches – as their name suggests, bath benches are used in baths to aid in the safe navigation over the bath edge and during bathing.
Looking similar to a bath chair, they feature a wider seat that spans over the side of the bath to have feet firmly within the bath and on the floor beside. Users are intended to slide across the seat until they are over the bath where a handheld shower can then be used.
Please note this aid does not allow for transfer into the bathtub in a supine position (lying down).
Transfer benches – Transfer benches can be used to safely transfer yourself or a family member into the bath or shower where an existing seat is present. Most transfer benches double as a shower or bath chair for ease of use.
Handheld showerheads – The ideal addition to any shower or bath being used by an elderly person with mobility concerns, a handheld showerhead makes washing much easier.
Being able to manoeuvre the showerhead to wash and rinse the body rather than manipulating the body itself reduces the risk of falls and injury. It is useful for both independent use and when a carer is present.
Grab bars – Where a chair is not required but stability is still a concern, the installation of grab rails can be highly beneficial. This provides a firm handhold while getting in and out of the bath or shower while also aiding in more stability during the activity of bathing itself.
Slip-resistant mats are often used in conjunction with all of these aids as an added safety measure.
The Benefits Of Shower Aids For The Elderly
Still not convinced you need to introduce shower aids? Let’s review the benefits of incorporating them into a shower routine.
Promotes Independence And Privacy
If you struggle with your mobility as many elderly people do, the idea of losing privacy and independence as a result can be incredibly distressing.
You do not need to compromise on these to feel safe while you shower. One of the best benefits of adopting shower aids is that they can help you maintain your privacy and independence for longer.
Reduces The Risk Of falls And Injuries
The last thing anyone needs is to sustain a serious injury or broken bone while showering. Not only is this painful, but it could also see you have an even further reduction in your mobility.
Using shower aids significantly reduces the incidences of falls and injuries by providing a safe place to rest or a strong handle to hold on to.
Improves Hygiene And Quality Of Life
The importance of personal hygiene in maintaining health and well-being cannot be denied.
Staying clean isn’t just about feeling fresh and smelling good, it’s vital to better health. Poor personal hygiene is often linked with skin conditions, urinary tract infections, scalp issues, eye problems and more.
In terms of well-being and mental health, maintaining personal care and hygiene habits is known to contribute to boosted moods and improved confidence. This in turn supports better social and emotional well-being.
Eases The Burden On Caregivers
If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated caregiver to help you manage bathing, it is important to consider how shower aids can also support them.
Not only can this help them bathe older people more safely, but it can also aid in efficiency and better cleanliness. As an important aside, they can help to protect them from injury during this daily activity too!
Choosing Shower Aids
When choosing the right shower aid or mix of shower aids for your needs, you should consider:
- Safety and stability
- Comfort and ease of use
- Size and weight capacity
- Cost and budget
Making sure your chosen aid meets the correct criteria for you and your carers ensures a better experience all around, not just a safer one.
How Able Medilink Can Help
At Able Medilink, we stock a wide range of mobility aids for people aged 0-100 and beyond. We understand that mobility challenges can present at any time of life and work hard to support our customers to find the right solutions for their needs.
We have extensive experience with shower aids and understand just how beneficial they can be when it comes to navigating personal care safely.
For support in choosing the right shower aid or combination of shower aids, speak with our genuine and helpful team today at 03 9557 9038.