Elderly people and the disabled often need help getting in and out of the bath. Even with someone there to assist it isn’t the easiest thing to do.
If they have managed to have a soak in the bath, the next issue is getting out safely. Frail legs and arms might struggle to take the weight needed, particularly on a slippery surface.
Struggling with mum at bathtime was what led me to research any ways that I might be able to help her. Her safety and dignity were paramount but wear and tear on my back had to be considered too.
These are some of the bath aids and gadgets that my research found.
How can I help someone to get in and out of the bath?
One main struggle for people when getting in and out of the bath is lifting their legs one at a time over the side of the bath. This is something that you or I may take for granted; but for someone with limited mobility or someone who struggles with weak muscles, joints or bad balance, climbing in and out of a bath can be near impossible and frightening.
Thankfully they are now a lot of different aids that can be put in place to assist people with getting in and out of the bath. They range from very cheap and affordable, like bath steps or hand support rails, to more expensive transfer benches, inflating bath seats and reclining bath lifts. This post will discuss the ways to assist your disabled or elderly relatives to have a relaxing soak in the bath.
Do I need to get a walk in bath?
The good news is that nowadays, installing a walk in bath is not the only solution.
Years ago, there were not as many affordable products that could help you with bathing. Bath aids were not very readily available online or in shops. (Mobility aids tended to be something that were accessed through the NHS.)
Walk in baths are a great invention and still remain the most practical and the easiest solution for bathing when you are not physically able to to get into an ordinary bath.
However, walk in baths are very expensive and are not affordable for may families, so you have to look at other ways to assist people.
Read on to discover some of the aids that will make it much easier to get in and out of the bath, without having to spend a fortune on a walk in bath.
Can an elderly or disabled person get in and out of the bath alone?
Providing that the person is able to stand up and sit down alone, they should be able to use bath aids to assist getting into and out of the bath with little or no assistance.
Some bath aids will need a second person to come in and remove the mobility aid from the bath, to enable the person to have enough room to bathe. (For example, a transfer bench takes up quite a lot of room in the water and would get in the way of the person bathing or relaxing in the bath.
Some bath aids enable the person to get into and out of the bath alone, an inflating bath chair or a bath lift for example, allows the person to sit down, and shuffle onto the seat, from there, if they can lift their legs and turn 90 degrees, so that their legs are over the bath (some bath lifts have swivel chairs), the chair or lift will then lower them into the bath water and then lift them up and out again afterwards.
If the elderly person or disabled person is quite able bodied, but just needs a little support, you can get hand rails that can either be drilled into the walls or suction type ones that won’t damage any surfaces and can simply be struck onto the bath tiles. I think I am a little wary of the suction style, if they were to come loose there could be a terrible accident.
If the person has a shower built into their home instead of a bath and needs help with showering, there are specially designed stools to allow you to sit as you wash.
I really like the super grip handles from NRS Healthcare, they do not require and screws and are attached to the tiles via suction. These handle grips are a cost effective way to provide support in the bathroom and are available on Amazon.
What are some examples or useful bath aids that really work?
Bath steps make it much easier for someone who is more able bodied to get in and out of the bath.
The anti-slip heavy duty steps are designed to be stackable, so you buy as many steps as you need and create your own shallow steps to lead up to the bath.
Whilst this isn’t suitable for very frail people, it is the perfect way to assist in getting into the bath if the primary struggle is lifting your leg over the edge of the bath.
I really like the fact that these bath steps are padded, for extra comfort and grip with bare feet. These bath steps are available on Amazon.
Bath steps are an easy and cheap way to make it easier to get in and out of the bath.
The best mid range priced bath aid I have seen is the Homecraft padded bath transfer bench.
I love that this transfer bend is customisable to the height of the bath and the person using it.
You sit on the bench outside of the bath and swivel yourself into the bath.
The only thing with this bath bench is that the elderly or disabled person may need someone to help them set up the transfer bench as you have to lift it into the bath and they may also need help in removing the bench from the bath once they are in. (Depending on their ability.)
Once in the bath, the person can relax, they may benefit from a stool that you can sit on in the bathtub which would aid in getting from sitting to standing once in the bathtub.
This bath aid is my absolute favourite of all, and I would absolutely say go and check it out.
A bath lift is the safest and most practical way for an elderly or disabled person to have help getting into a regular bath and can be used and operated completely alone.
The clever structure and design means the person can sit on the edge of the safe seat, shuffle backwards and be lowered by a remote into the bath. The device has heavy duty suction pads at the bottom to secure it to the bath and every part of the DeVilbiss reclining bath lift is waterproof.
Your elderly relative can completely relax in the bath without worrying about how they will get back out.
This bath lift costs a fraction of the price of a walk in bath, but provides complete reassurance that an elderly or disabled person can safely get in and out of the bath and will be able to relax comfortably.
The seat unit can be reclined, again this is controlled by the hand held remote control, so once in the bah, the person can lie down to get deeper into the water. This is where other bath seats fail, they don’t allow the person to lie back in the water.
Once the bath lift is installed (using the suction pads) it can be left in place and wiped over to keep it clean and avoid mould from forming because of the moisture.
Key features of this bath hoist:
- Lowers from 48cm to 6cm in the bath.
- Easy and lightweight to dismantle
- It has a removable and washable cover
- 140kg weight capacity (22 stone)
- Chargeable battery for lifting and lowering.
- The remote is waterside and floats to prevent the elderly person from getting stressed out
- The user is able to lie down into the water.
This bath lift is the perfect way to give a parent or relative help with getting in and out of the bath without having to compromise on their privacy in the bathroom.
It is not the cheapest mobility aid, but is very affordable when you consider the improvement on quality of life the person will have from owning and using it.