There is a common misconception that daily living aids are a sign that you are losing your independence, but in fact, they can mean quite the opposite – and bathing aids are no exception. If you are experiencing difficulty bathing or showering, or maybe you have noticed that your loved one is not as confident washing alone as they used to be, purchasing a bathing aid can be a great way to enhance independence and continue living happily at home.
We understand that unless you or a loved one require a bathing aid, you are unlikely to have any knowledge of what they are, who they are for and what you might need. With that in mind, we have put together a simple guide explaining what bathing aids are and our top bathing aid solutions for the elderly and those living with a disability.
What are bathing aids?
Bathing aids do exactly what they say on the tin, they help someone bath or shower safely and confidently. There are many bathing aids available from various brands and companies, but no matter what their function, their aim is to provide physical support and peace of mind to someone who otherwise may not be able to wash themselves.
A bathing aid can be life-changing for people who want to stay in the comfort of their own home, but due to limited mobility or fear of falling, need a little extra stability. Of those 60 and over, 30% will have a fall at least once a year, and with more hazards in the bathroom, bathing aids can play an important role in reducing the risk of falling to someone in their senior years. From shower stools to non-slip mats, or something as simple as a grab rail, there are many options to suit your needs.
The top five bathing aids for elderly and the disabled:
The bathing aid you require will depend on your reason for purchasing and your bathing preferences, such as showering or bathing. It is likely that this is the first time that you have considered purchasing a bathing aid, and you might have the following questions: how much do they cost? What do I need? Will it be installed? But you need not worry, we have come up with the top five bathing aids for those in their senior years and people living with a disability.
- Tap turners
Function: Tap turners are particularly useful for people with painful or weak wrists, such as those living with arthritis. There are different styles of tap turners but in general, they attach to a tap and provide a secure grip, meaning that you can turn bath taps on and off with ease. Some tap turners feature comfort grips to further enhance the ease of use.
Price: From only £5 up to around £20.
Installation: There is no formal installation required. The tap turners can be fitted onto the taps with ease – you may require help from a loved one or carer to do this.
- Non-slip bath discs
Function: Non-slip bath discs can be placed in the bottom of a bath or shower to provide grip and prevent slips and falls whilst bathing. Non-slip bath discs usually come as a roll, with each disc being individually adhesive for ease of application and use. These discs are a more efficient alternative to a bathmat, as once stuck down, they remain in place. The discs are also designed to look seamless within the base of the bath/shower and can be cleaned alongside your bath.
Price: From only £6 up to around £10.
Installation: To apply the non-slip bath discs, the base of the shower or bath needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dried to ensure that the discs can stick properly.
- Bath lifts
Function: Bath lifts are a seat or reclining chair that gently lowers and raises you in and out of the bath, they provide someone with limited mobility or a disability a safe option of bathing. Bath lifts come in various designs and sizes, but they are usually battery operated with a remote or pendant for the person to control the lift. Bath lifts promote independence and access to personal care for those living with conditions where they might have relied on either a loved one or carer, or even without the option to wash at home.
Price: They start from about £250 upwards, depending on the brand and design.
Installation: Most providers will offer free installation included in the price of the bath lift. We recommend checking with the company before purchasing to ensure your bath lift is assembled properly by someone who can show you how to use it.
- Suction grab rails
Function: Suction grab rails are designed to fix easily onto a bathroom wall (tiled surfaces) to provide support when showering or bathing. Due to the suction fixture, suction grab rails are perfect for when you are travelling away from home, or simply for use in different places around the bathroom. They also come in a range of sizes, so you can choose the best option for your space. Suction grab rails are a fantastic way to prevent falls whilst bathing and instil a sense of confidence when washing alone.
Price: From as little as £8 up to around £35.
Installation: There is no formal installation required, but you may need help from a loved one or carer when fitting and removing your grab rail. Simply clean and dry the tiled area you have chosen and apply the grab rail, following the instructions provided.
- Shower and bath stools
Function: Shower and bath stools are designed to provide support whilst showering and bathing, they help the person to conserve energy and prevent slips and falls that could happen whilst standing. Fitted with sturdy rubber feet, shower and bath stools stay firmly in place to allow those with limited mobility or difficulty balancing a secure seat whilst washing. The stools come in a range of designs and are often adjustable to suit your height.
Price: From around £30 up to about £60.
Installation: There is no installation required, simply lift the stool into the base of your shower or bath. We recommend asking a loved one or carer to help you put the stool in place to ensure you are happy with the height and placement.
Can I get funding?
If you think you’d benefit from a bathing aid, you can apply for a needs assessment where your local council can provide funding for equipment such as bathing aids, or changes to your home, such as a walk-in shower.
Medequip’s online retail store, Manage at Home, offers a choice of over 4000 products from over 100 leading manufactures of daily living aids. Not only do they deliver directly to your door with free delivery over £50, VAT relief is also available on a huge range of products, which gives financial aid to those living with a disability or chronic illness.
Medequip have kindly given our customers a 10% discount (this offer is valid until 31/12/2021), to receive your discount, enter the code ‘HHANDS10’ at checkout.
Here at Helping Hands we can help you to live independently at home, whether you are in your senior years and would like a little help around the home, or you are living with a disability and want to get out and about more. It may be that you are concerned about a loved one living alone; nevertheless, our specialised elderly assistance options, and home care is tailored around you and your lifestyle.
Equipped with over 30 years of experience, we know the importance of your comfort at home and we care about the little details – whether you prefer a bath or shower down to the colour that you like your tea; our care is so much more than just physical support.
For more information, please call 0330 029 8699 or request a callback and we will call you.
Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church, Regional Clinical Lead on November 23, 2021