What is a shower chair?
A shower chair is a specifically designed chair for use in a bathroom. Some are equipped with wheels to act as a sort of wheelchair, but others have sturdy, rubber feet, so the chair won’t slip if there’s water on the floor. They are waterproof and resist rust, so they are ok in water.
Shower chairs are different from regular chairs because they have been designed to be used in a shower or bath. Regular chairs will most likely get water damaged over time and might not fit in your shower. Shower chairs have been specified to be waterproof and comfortable in the shower.
Some shower chairs have a toilet-seat hole in them, so you can use them as a commode chair over the toilet if it is hard for you to get on and off a regular toilet. Most ordinary chairs don’t come with that.
Shower chairs will also have either secure rubber nonslip feet on each leg to keep it secure even in water, or they will have waterproof wheels like a wheelchair so you can move around the bathroom. Normal chairs don’t typically have waterproof, secure footing.
Why should I get a shower chair?
There are several reasons why you might need to get a shower chair, but the common denominator is that you don’t feel secure in the shower or bath by yourself. Whether you have muscular issues and struggle to stand on your own, or if you have balance problems, dizzy spells, fainting spells, or any other issues that could make showering alone a concern. Having a shower chair will give you the freedom to shower or take a bath by yourself safely.
It is a good idea for many seniors to have a shower chair. As the body gets older, it gets more and more unreliable. Many seniors suffer from muscle, joint, or bone pain, which can make it difficult for them to stand on their own.
If you have weak muscles or joints, or if unexpected falling is an issue for you, you should look into a shower chair to help you feel more secure in the shower.
Some shower chair advantages are that they can improve your safety. That is the most important issue that shower chairs address. They give you a secure space where you know you won’t slip or fall. They can also help you feel more independent and empowered by no longer needing another person to help you shower. It improves the quality of life by helping you feel less dependent on other people.
They are an essential part of making the bathroom safe, especially for the elderly. Bathrooms can get hazardous quickly, and it is vital to do everything you can to make them a safer place. There are several precautions you can take, including grab bars or tension poles, shower chairs, handheld showerheads, nonslip mats, and transfer benches.
Shower chairs make it much easier to bathe, either by yourself or assisting the person in the chair. This is very important in personal hygiene for seniors. Having a shower chair makes it easier for them to bathe and to use the toilet hygienically.
Types of shower chairs
There are many different types of shower chairs. Each has its own benefits, and you can decide which level of support you feel you need in the shower or bath.
Some showers have a built-in shower seat or bench. These are nice because there is no setup required. If you just want something there in case you start to feel unsteady in the shower, but you don’t feel like you need a full shower chair, a shower bench or seat can help.
A shower stool is going to be smaller and more convenient to take in and out. Shower stools are going to be better for traveling as well because they are smaller and more compact. They will be waterproof, and most have rubber-tipped feet to prevent sliding. If your shower is too small for a built-in bench or seat, or if you are switching to different showers and bathtubs, then a stool might be a good option.
A significant drawback to the stool is that there is no back support. If you want the portability of a stool but need a backrest, you can get a shower chair. Like the stools, they are made of waterproof materials and have rubber feet so you won’t lose traction on a wet floor. Some are foldable so you can carry them easily and travel with them. While lots of hotels and other temporary vacation places have shower chairs, it can be nice to have your own.
Shower chairs can have a full seat like a regular chair, or they can have a toilet seat hole so you don’t have to get up to use the toilet.
Shower chair with wheels
Some shower chairs have wheels for those who need extra support navigating the bathroom in general. This is essentially a wheelchair that is specialized for use in a bathroom. The wheels will be resistant to rust and waterproof so they won’t stick when they get wet. Often they will have a toilet seat hole so you can just navigate over the toilet and don’t have to get off.
Full body shower chair
If you really struggle to move and even sitting is hard for you, you may need a full-body shower chair. This is almost like a pool lounge chair with wheels. It will support your feet and legs as well as your back and bottom.
Other bathroom assistive devices include:
Shower seat: the Drive medical plastic tub transfer bench is a good recommended shower seat to buy. It is about $45 on amazon. It has several quality features. It has a longer seat and a backrest, it has rubberized feet to provide stability. It has adjustable legs to change the seat height. It has drainage holes in the seat so you don’t have to sit in a puddle of water. And it has an easy, tool-free assembly, so it is a quick setup. It only weighs about 10 pounds, so it is easy to handle.
Shower grab bar: the Changing lifestyles safe-er grip is only $11 on amazon. A grab bar is a really important feature for anyone who feels unsteady, especially in the bathroom. Grab bars are good in the shower, bathtub, and by the toilet. The safe-er grip won’t stick to dry walls, but shower or tub surfaces are fair game. It has very easy attachment and detachment features. Because of such easy attachment methods of suction cups, it is meant more for support and cannot handle full body weight.
The Amazon basics handicap bar can support up to 500 pounds. While it is a little trickier to install and a little more expensive at $32, it is a much more supportive safety feature for any bathroom. It is a stainless steel bar, with a diameter of either 1.25 in or 1.5 in, and comes at a 16 in, 18 in, 24 in, 36 in, or 42 in length. Depending on the size you get, it will weigh between 0.85 lbs and 2.42 lbs. It complies with ADA standards, and while it doesn’t quite stick to the wall like the safe-er grip, it comes with an installation manual and the equipment needed.
Slip-resistant mat: another helpful feature in the bathroom is a rubber-bottomed mat that won’t slip in puddles, so you have a secure spot to stand. The Gorilla grip original patented bath shower tub mat is $20 on Amazon and is a great option. It comes in different sizes and different colors to match the space it’s in. it has hundreds of little suction cups lined up on its bottom, so it’s easy to lift up and move or clean, but it won’t slide sideways. It works best on a smooth surface so that it won’t do well on tile, but you can put it directly in the bath or shower to prevent slipping. It has drainage holes to prevent water from building up. It is also machine washable, which helps prevent oily buildup from soap.
The Gorilla grip original luxury chenille bathroom rug mat is another gorilla grip brand. It’s only $24 on amazon and also comes in several sizes and colors. While the original tub mat is plastic and meant for inside the tub or shower, the luxury chenille rug is meant for right outside. The plush material is soft on the feet and helps dry them. It contains the water, so the rest of your bathroom floor isn’t so wet. It is also machine washable, and the adhesive is meant to stay strong for years.
How to choose a shower chair
When choosing a shower chair, there are several features you want to look out for and several kinds of shower chairs. Most have been highlighted above but will be listed again here:
- Folding shower stool
- Standard shower chair
- Rolling shower chair
- Bariatric shower chair (can support more than 300 lbs)
- Fold-down shower chair (permanently attached to the wall and uses the wall in place of two of its legs, can be folded up and out of the way; useful for households where only one person using the shower needs the chair)
- Transfer bench (long shower chairs)
Some features to look out for are:
Size: make sure the chair will fit in your shower
Height: is it the right height for you? Does it have adjustable legs to change the seat height?
Weight capacity: if you weigh more than 300 lbs, you’ll need a bariatric shower chair
Support: do you need armrests or backrests? Do you want wheels, or do you want a fixed chair?
Shower chairs can cost between $20 and over $300. Depending on where you are buying, the quality of the chair, and the features it has. Insurance doesn’t typically cover shower chairs, but some may, so it’s always a good idea to check.