People with limited mobility face numerous challenges. One of the main difficulties is bathing. Even though bathing is a very crucial factor in mental well-being as well as sanitary health maintenance, sometimes it can be hectic, time-consuming, hazardous, and tiresome for people with limited mobility or strength. Relying on relatives or friends to take a bath can make you feel that you are not living an independent lifestyle. Relying on people to maintain your sanitary health can make you feel uncomfortable. Bathing should be a pleasure! Thanks to the numerous bath lifts available today you don’t have to worry anymore when taking a bath. A bath lift is one of the safest independent bathing solutions for people with limited mobility or strength.
With so many bath lifts available on the market, it can be hectic to choose the right bath lift. What are the things you should consider when picking the right bath lift? In this article, we are going to discuss how to choose the right bath lift.
What is a bath lift?
If you live with a person with limited mobility, a bath lift may be one of the essentials in the house. What is a bath lift? This a powered device used by people with limited mobility, movement or strength to take a bath. The lift helps to get into and out of the bath with ease. The key features of the elevator are backrest, seat, and handset control. The control mechanism is safe to use in water. Many lifts come with mechanical power. However, there are alternative lift systems that use inflatable chambers with compressed air to lower or lift a person as required. There are predominantly four different types of bath lifts; mechanical chair and air-inflatable which tend to be the most popular due to portability then belt systems and specialized hoists.
For many people with limited movement or mobility, the most dangerous bathing elements are stepping over the bath edge, lowering down or standing up. The lift takes care of such crucial bath stages. The elevator is designed to increase bath time safety, comfort, and convenience. The first step to taking a bath using a lift is raising the seat, so that is at the same level as the bath top: The user will be able to slide across and take a comfortable bathing position with ease. You will then use the handset to lower yourself into the bottom of the bath and be able to bathe in comfort. When finished use the handset to raise yourself to the top edge of the bath so that you can swing your legs onto the bath floor. Some people find it useful to have a small step on the bath floor next to the bath to give extra height – particularly helpful if someone is short in height.
Things to consider when choosing the right bath lift
Bath lifts make it possible for people with limited mobility to get in and out of the bath comfortably and safely. There are various lift designs available on the market today, which allows people with limited movement or strength to take a bath. There are numerous lifts for individuals of all ages. The elevators on the market can accommodate users of every height and weight. Below are vital things you should consider when choosing the right bath lift such as;
One of the things you should consider is the maximum achievable height. If you have a deep bath will the seat be high enough to reach the bath edge? The correct lift should be able to raise so that is at the same level as the bath top edge. You should go for a lift that can rise to an even height with your bath edge. If you are a person of taller stature, the seat should be able to raise a bit higher. Most lift models powered by battery come with 17″-18″ maximum achievable height. A few lift models come with 23″ maximum achievable height which will suit deeper baths.
What is the minimum achievable height? How low can the lift go? Less water is needed with an elevator that can sink very low. When you are at the bottom of the bath, the bath seat should remain underneath you. A lift that can go very low allows you to be more submerged in water. Some bath lift models come with as little as 5-7cm minimum achievable height. You can also find few air-inflatable models with less than 1cm minimum possible height.
Most lifts are designed to fit into a standard bath size. If you prefer a battery powered bath lift, you should look for the broadest lift that your bath can accommodate. If you would like to sit down on the side of the seat before entering the bath, you should go for the lift with a seat that extends to meet the bath sides.
Most lift users leave the lift in the bathroom after use or while not in use. However, some users prefer to store or remove the elevator in between uses. In such a case, you should consider the lift portability. Will you be able to store or transfer the lift between uses? There are some light lifts that are built for quick portability and disassembly. Would you like to take the lift to holiday? You should look for a lighter lift! Also, a lift system that is very easy to disassemble.
Most portable lifts user weight capacity is up to 20 stone but there are some heavy duty lifts available as well. If you are looking for a bath lift with more than 25 stone lifting capacity, you should go for a specialized custom lift. There are dedicated custom lifts with a weight capacity over 25 stone on the market today.
Look for comfort features. A good lift should come with cushioning and you should consider wall grab handles and a bath step for comfort and support. The right lift should come with enough legroom. Look for an elevator with supportive backrest and comfortable seat.
You should select a lift that fits perfectly within the bath. With the right lift, there should be no scratching or jamming of the sides. Many lifts feature suction cups which attach to the bottom of the bath floor securely. If you have a textured bath floor, the suction cups may not work.
The right lift should be able to lift the intended users. Whether the user is light or heavy, the lift should be able to raise them. The right lift should be strong enough to lift even the heaviest user.
The bath lift frames are usually made from steel or a strong plastic and are designed to be long-lasting.
Another thing you should consider when choosing the right bath lift is the bath cushion. Some lifts come with cushion pads on a firm seat surface and there is an inflatable bath lift which is softer to sit on. You should consider the firm seat with backrest if you struggle to control your trunk and possibly the inflatable bath lift if you are good at maintaining an upright position.
Lifts are available with many different types of surfaces and are usually have slip-resistant seat surface. For safety reasons, you should go for a lift with a slightly textured, slip-resistant seat surface to avoid slipping. A lift with a flat seat surface is recommended when the users prefer to arrive in the center of the bath by sitting down on the side of the seat and then sliding across the seat.
The right lift should be reliable! Always look for a reputable company that has been manufacturing for some years. Many high-quality bath lifts are made in the UK and Germany.
What are the reclining options? Not all lifts come with reclining option. The lifts with reclining option offer controlled recline when the lift is in the bath and at the lowest point. Before rising as you get out of the bath, the lift seat will return to an upright position. In other words, the backrest should recline to the required degree with ease.
Some battery powered lifts come with a backrest that reclines automatically as the lift lowers down, others come with an upright backrest (remains in a fixed vertical position), while some lifts come with both stay upright and recline control options. Most users prefer lifts with both upright and recline control options. A lift with both options allows the user to sit upright while washing legs and recline when ready to relax or soak. Taller users prefer lift models without recline options because they offer more legroom.
With numerous bath lifts on the market today, you should look for lifts that are easy to control and understand.
If you aren’t the only one using the bathroom, the lift should be easy to remove when other family members or friends wish to use the bath. The lifting should be easy to set-up, transfer, and store.
Best bath lifts are easy to clean. A lift that is easier to clean is the right option, especially for the people who are prone to infections. All the components of a given lift should be straightforward to clean.
Ease of transfer/ Swivel seat
Do you think it will be hectic to get on to the lift seat? Go for a lift with slide and swivel seat or swivel seat option. Some bath lifts come with in-built rotating swivel seat for ease of transfer.
Nothing makes it easier to slide across the lift seat like a rotating disc. With a rotating disc, you can quickly turn your bottom while lifting your legs over the bath edge.
Look for a lift that can operate in any given bath designs. Some bath designs are very unusual, for instance, the corner bath. A lift that can work in such unusual bath designs is the best.
Are you looking for a lift that matches with your bathroom style? There are numerous lifts on the market which can match the style of a given bathroom. The right lift should match your bathroom style.
You don’t need a lift that produces a lot of noise. A lift that operates discreetly and quietly is the right one for you.
One of the reasons people with limited mobility purchase bath lifts is to prevent falls while bathing. The right lift should be very safe to use. You should look for a lift that affixes securely to the bath, thus minimizing the risk of slipping or falling.
Most lifts can be controlled with just a simple handset; thus people with a reasonable degree of movement can use such lifts in privacy and unaided. For those people without a very limited degree of mobility then an alternative such as a specialized bath hoist should be considered.
Some lift models come with extra features like washable, sanitary seat covers, headrest attachments and swivel seats as mentioned earlier. If you have a poor sitting posture, you should look for lifts with a backrest. A taller user should look for a lift with headrest attachments. If anything goes wrong, spares and replacements should be easily and quickly available.
People with limited mobility prefer bath lifts. Bath lifts make people with limited mobility more independent. With a bath lift, you will depend less on relatives, friends or carers to take a bath. For those with mobility issues, bath lifts offer new independence and freedom. With a lift, you find taking a bath less challenging.
There are many types of bath lifts for individual bathing requirements. Anyone with limited mobility has different needs and you have to select the right bath lift for those needs. Consider the options listed above to help guide you when choosing the right bath lift.