Bathroom mobility aids to use at home
Mobility aids are designed to assist or improve function when it comes to a range of personal tasks and activities, helping to increase independence and safety.
There is an extensive range of bathroom products to choose from to suit a variety of needs and budgets.
Grab bars and handrails
Bathroom surfaces don’t tend to provide a lot of support, making moving from one area to another difficult. Grab bars and handrails are simple and practical aids that provide extra support when moving from the shower, bath and toilet. They provide a secure surface that can be gripped by the whole hand to prevent a fall.
Grab bars are suited for people who need another point of contact for balance or to assist with transfers or certain bathroom tasks . By positioning the rail on the diagonal or using an L-shaped or angled rail, the person is assisted to balance as they transition from one height to another, as their hand can move to the height required. They can also be used in conjunction with a toilet raiser where the toilet is too low or to maintain balance for cleaning and adjusting clothing.
Suction rails are a solution for people who just need the confidence of touch support when getting in and out of the shower. Being easily movable, they’re ideal for travel or as a temporary solution before grab bars can be installed. They must be positioned on smooth surfaces and should be checked before each use.
A shower chair or stool is ideal for those people who find standing for long periods of time difficult, or who may feel dizzy or off-balance sometimes. They can help to provide privacy while bathing and showering by allowing a carer to assist the individual into the shower, then leaving them to wash themselves.
Shower chairs generally feature a moulded plastic seat, coated aluminium legs and rubber feet. Because of their lightweight design, they can be removed from the shower when needed – such as if other household members or guests need extra space. For smaller areas, consider a shower stool or bench, which tend to take up less room.
Note that positioning the shower chair or stool facing the shower screen door allows more room for stepping in and out of the shower and reduces the risk of tripping when trying to step around the chair leg in a confined space.
A bath chair or bench makes getting into and out of the bath easier – whether with the help of a carer or not. Positioned over the bath, they help provide a sturdy surface to enable showering using a shower hose while seated over the bath.
They are helpful for independent bathing as well as people who may need a carer’s assistance for transfer, but who prefer to bathe themselves. While wrapped in a towel, the individual can be helped to slide into place where they can then remove the towel and wash themselves.
A bath lift is another alternative for people who prefer to sit in the bath. It features an electronic lift function that gently lowers the person in the bath, allowing for independent washing.
A handheld shower is often used alongside a shower or bath chair to help with washing. They attach to the faucet by a flexible rod and can be used by the individual or their carer. They help to direct water where needed and can be handy for people with limited mobility.
Handheld shower heads often have a lower water pressure, so are ideal for people with sensitive skin.
An over toilet aid is a sturdy frame with armrests and a raised toilet seat. It sits over a standard toilet and helps to provide a slightly elevated position for the user. This can reduce some of the difficulty that comes with lowering onto the toilet. The armrests also provide support when standing up again, which can reduce the risk of a fall.
Over toilet aids can be used with or without the assistance of a carer. Because of the higher position, people who have difficulty using a standard toilet without assistance often find toileting easier with an over toilet aid. The height adjustable legs make standing up from the toilet easier. Adjusting the back legs a notch or two higher than the front can enable the feet to be well supported when sitting.
Over toilet aids are height adjustable to make standing from the toilet easier. The back legs can be adjusted a notch or two higher for comfort or to enable the feet to be well supported in sitting, if required
A shower commode can be a handy piece of equipment as it combines the function of a shower chair and an over toilet aid. They feature a sturdy frame to support the user and an open base that makes toileting and cleaning easier. The fitted wheels allow the shower commode to be easily moved into place by the user or their carer. Because it can be used in wet areas, it’s ideal for people who find it difficult to step into the shower or toilet unaided.
It’s important to note smaller bathrooms are generally not suitable for shower commodes as they do require room to maneuver. It also requires a walk in shower to enable the commode to be wheeled into position.