As we approach our later years, things stop working in our bodies as well as they used to. We may develop mobility issues which make everyday tasks more challenging. One of these is bathing. Senior citizens are statistically more likely to prefer a bath to a shower, so it is important to consider how to adapt a current bathroom. Shower chairs can be a useful addition to a bathroom, but if you really want to soak in a bath and soothe those aching muscles, you should be able to have that choice.
Senior citizens may find that they need to rely on bath lifts or stair lifts to be able to bathe in safety. There are many options available to ensure that you can stay in your home, even if it has stairs, and stay safe in the bathroom.
It is necessary to have good arm strength to get in and out of a bath safely, and this strength can be reduced by wasting muscles or arthritic shoulders. The risk of falling whilst getting in and out of a bath is not worth taking, so many elder folk simply do not bother. With bath lifts or bath chair lifts, this risk is eliminated.
It is often worth consulting an occupational therapist before deciding on which bath aid you are going to purchase. They may have valuable suggestions and recommendations that a bath aid salesperson will not have. If they know your specific requirements, they may have useful tips to help you decide on which bath aid you want to buy.
Bath lifts are a helpful solution to those who suffer with mobility issues. The bath can be a difficult and dangerous place if we are less mobile than we used to be. It can be a challenge to get in and out of the bath and can provide a daunting and scary prospect instead of a pleasure.
A bath lift can provide a perfect solution to this dilemma. There are two main types of bath lift, theh removable bath lift and the fixed bath lift.
With a removable bath lift, the process is very simple. Bath lifts have a seat where you start off, then you swing your legs into the bath, using a hand rail if necessary for added security. Once you are safely seated, the seat can be lowered, using a waterproof control, into the water. The seat is secured in the bath using suction pads, so can be simply removed when not needed.
Once you are finished, you simply reverse the process to get out. The seat provides a safe and convenient place to dry yourself without having to worry about slipping or falling.
However, this bath lift relies on you having enough mobility to get your legs into the bath without pain or discomfort, so it may not suit everyone.
A similar idea to the removable bath chair is an inflatable cushion. This is simply inflated electronically so that it is the same height as the bath rim. You then position yourself onto the cushion and deflate it under you are at the appropriate height. When you have finished your bath, you re-inflate the cushion to allow you to get out safely.
It is also possible to buy a hydraulic bath lift. These are less common as they are expensive and require more effort than other models. They rely on the weight of the bather and the hydraulic power of the water to raise and lower you into the bath.
You need to have considerable arm strength and flexibility to be able to use this lift.
There is also a fixed bath lift available. This is fixed to the wall nearest the bath and comprises of a rubber band which also forms the seat. You position yourself on the band and release the band down into the bath. You will be seated right on the bottom of the bath which is a benefit, but you do need to have good balance and core strength as there is no back rest.
Bath lift chairs
Another option is a bath lift chair. This is exactly what it sounds like, a chair that fits into your bath. Getting in is easy, you sit on a panel and either slide over to the main body of the chair, or on some models the chair rotates by forty-five degrees so that you are in the perfect position. You then lower yourself into the water safely and securely. The panels on the side of the chair can be returned to a vertical position when you are lowering yourself into the bath and returned to a horizontal position so that you can use them to help you get out.
Many models offer a retractable back rest so that you can lie back and enjoy your bath. You simply return the back rest to a vertical position when you are ready to get out. Some models offer a floating controller which is very useful to avoid losing the controller in the bath and having to search to retrieve it. Controllers are available with large raised controls for those who have impaired sight, and they are lightweight and easy to use for those who have less strength in their hands.
As with a bath lift, when you are finished, you then reverse the process to get out. Once again, you can dry yourself in safety and comfort without leaving the chair seat. Bath lift chairs are designed to be lightweight, so they can be removed and stored easily, and despite being lightweight they are strong so that they can carry a heavier weight. Some models come with a rubber or cushioned pad that can be placed on the back and seat of the chair. Whilst giving extra comfort, they also provide added security as they are more slip resistant.
This is a brilliant solution to mobility issues once you are in the bathroom. Both bath lifts and bath lift chairs can be easily installed in your home. However, if you need to go upstairs to reach the bathroom, you may need additional equipment to be fitted. This is where the stair lift chair comes in.
If you struggle to get into the bath or even into the bath chair, you can buy a swivel bath chair. This is a chair that is fixed onto the bath, and turns ninety degrees, so you can position yourself comfortably onto the chair, then swivel it once you are in the chair so it is perfectly positioned over the bath. However, with this model, you either need to wash yourself from the seated position, or be able to get into the water from the chair, so it is not a viable option for many elderly people.
Stair Lift Chairs
Installing a stair lift chair in your home can give you increased confidence and independence and allow senior citizens to stay in their homes for longer.
Falls from stairs are a major source of injuries and bone breakages for this age group. When compounded with other health issues such as arthritis and brittle bones, it is to be avoided if at all possible.
When you have a stair lift chair, another worry is taken away. A stair lift chair is easy to install and can be adapted for most staircases if even they are narrow or curved.
Stair lift chairs are essentially a chair that slides up your staircase electronically. It is simply a case of sitting in the chair, placing your feet safely on the footrests, strapping yourself in for extra security, and pressing a control which glides you gently up your staircase.
You can then use the same process to descend the stairs. They are simple to install and there is a wide range of providers out there to offer you the best service. Safety and design are obviously important, stair lift chairs are often provided with a choice of upholstery so that you can tone it into your home décor.
Different stair lift chairs come with their own unique features. Some offer a tilted seat so you can access the chair more easily. Others offer retractable foot rests to prevent anyone from tripping on them. There are different heights and seat widths available, so you can ensure that your exact needs are met.
You may have other issues in terms of your range of movement. Some have one handed seat belts in case you have reduced mobility in your arms. Others offer special design features geared towards those who have trouble with knee movement. A salesperson will take details of your precise needs and should suggest the right chair for you.
There are options for indoor and outdoor chairs. If you struggle to access your front door from the outside, you do not have to move to a more convenient home. You can remain in your present house and fit a stair lift chair to your outdoor steps. These chairs are designed to cope with differences in climate and temperature and offer fold away seats to prevent the chair being cumbersome to others who are using the steps.
The installation is not a disruptive process. Most stair lift chairs attach to the step rather than the wall, so the mess is minimal. Reputable installers will clean up after themselves, so you will hardly notice they have been there, other than the freedom you now have from your stair lift chair.
Stair Lift Cost
Obviously, a major factor in deciding which stair lift chair to buy is the cost. There are a range of options available to you.
Various factors have to be taken into account. Firstly, which model of chair you choose. If you choose a top of the range chair the price is likely to be higher. A more basic option will be more affordable. You may find the stair lift cost increases substantially with a warranty or maintenance contract.
There are options to reduce your stair lift cost by buying a reconditioned stair lift. There are plenty of these available on the market, and providing that it fits your staircase and that you are confident that it is in good working order, this is a great option for those on a budget. Ensure that a warranty is included in case something goes wrong in the early days.
It is vital when considering stair lift cost, to ask exactly what the price is. The chair itself may sound as if it is a reasonable amount, ensure that fitting, warranty and maintenance are all factored in to the cost, to ensure you have a final figure from which to make your decision.
Curved staircases need stair lift chairs that are more expensive. If you have no option but to purchase one of these, and the cost is prohibitive, you could consider leasing a stair lift chair. You can also enquire as to whether monthly payments are on option, as financing plans can help to spread the cost and make the stair lift cost more realistic.
There are websites that you can visit which compare the pros and cons of different stair lift chairs, so this might be a useful place to start if you have no idea what you need.
It is also worth consulting local charities or your local health team to find out if there is any financial aid available to someone with your needs in your area.
Other useful bathroom aids
Once you have your stair lift installed and your bath aid, you may want to buy additional bath safety products to make your bath time a stress-free experience. For instance, it is possible to buy tap turners for people who have less strength in their hands. Not only is this handy to be able to fill the bath, but it removes the worry of overfilling or flooding if your hand seizes up and you struggle to turn the tap off.
Bath steps can be helpful for people who need a little help to get up to the correct height for bathing. Rails can be attached to your bath or the walls in your bathroom for extra security and to hold onto when drying.
You can use a bath thermometer if you have limited sensation in your hands, or a bath shortener so you can lie flat in the bath without your legs floating in an uncomfortable position. There are so many bath aids on the market today, that bath time does not have to end as a result of limited mobility.