As people age, tasks that were once second nature can become more of a challenge. Even bathing — once a ritual not only for hygiene but relaxation — can become a source of stress for older individuals and their caregivers. And even just the nature of bathrooms, such as the hard floors and wet surfaces, can feel like a recipe for injury. People who are getting older, or who have limited mobility are already at a higher risk of falling on dry floors which is why bathroom aids can be so important.
Caregivers often step in to help the person maintain good hygiene while staying safe. But doing so comes at a cost — it’s time-consuming, for one. It can also mark a loss of independence for the aging person. That can affect their mood and overall well-being, which no friend or family member wants to see.
Sometimes, such as in instances where a person is in the late stages of dementia, helping them in the bathroom is inevitable. But other times, a few handy tools can help the person help themselves. Here’s what to know about the top bathrooms aids to increase independence and safety.
Benefits of Bathroom Aids
For caregivers, figuring out whether bathroom aids are worth it and finding the best ones is an investment of time and money. But if a loved one needs help in the bathroom, it may well be worth it. Here are some perks to bathroom aids.
- More time for the caregiver. Though sifting through products and reviews takes time, you’ll get those precious minutes back in spades when the person you are caring for is able to do specific tasks themselves again.
- Independence and dignity for the aging person. Struggling to use the toilet or shower can feel deflating. These tasks are supposed to be simple and private. It can be tough for the caregiver to watch a person they are close with struggle. With the help of specialized, a person can regain independence and dignity in the bathroom.
- Safety. Older adults are already more prone to falls and injuries like broken bones. These incidents and injuries can be troubling for their caregivers, as well as add an ER visit to their already long to-do lists. Bathroom aids enhance safety, helping to mitigate fall risks and associated consequences.
- Better hygiene. Washing hands and showering helps eliminate germs, and using the toilet is essential. If an older person cannot complete these tasks, it creates potentially unsafe living conditions and increases the risk for disease and infections. Having useful devices can ensure they remain clean and practice self-care.
Best Bathroom Aids for Older Adults
Bathroom aids take various forms and come at a range of price points. These devices are some of the best on the market.
Munchkin Faucet Extender 2 Piece Set
Nearly 9,000 reviewers have given the Munchkin faucet extender 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. As the name implies, the device extends out from the faucet, bringing the water closer to a person’s hands. In turn, an older adult does not need to reach or bend forward to wash their hands, rinse their toothbrush, or re-fill their cup, reducing the risk for injury and strain on areas like the back. Caregivers won’t need any tools to put this faucet extender on the sink, and installation is known for being a cinch.
GE LED Nightlight
If an older adult can see where they are going, it lessens the likelihood they’ll trip or get injured. This LED by GE nightlight uses light-sensing technology to ensure it comes on when a room is dark and shuts off when it’s light. Sometimes, lights are hot, and touching them can increase the risk of burns. But this nightlight is cool to touch. Caregivers will love how low-maintenance it is. Simply plug it in to install. The LED light is long-lasting—there are no bulbs to replace. It comes in a pack of two, and it boasts a 4.7-star rating out of 5 stars from nearly 19,000 Amazon reviewers.
Gotega Two-Pack Shower Grab Bar
Getting into and out of a shower or tub can present a slip risk for older adults. These stainless steel shower grab bars from Gotega can provide your loved one with the support they need to navigate bath or shower time more safely. They are firm and can handle up to 500 lbs.
AquaDance High-Pressure Handheld Shower Head
Once a person is in the shower or tub, they’ll need to be able to use it to clean themselves effectively. A handheld showerhead allows them to do so from whatever position is safest and most comfortable for them. AquaDance’s handheld showerhead has a five-foot, flexible hose that is easy to extend to wherever a person needs, and the ergonomic grip handle makes it easier for a person to hold. The six different water settings let the older adult choose the best one for them, enhancing their comfort in the shower or tub.
Everlasting Comfort Automatic Hand Soap Dispenser
If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s about the importance of rigorous hand-washing. Soap, of course, is part of that process. But people with tremors, arthritis, limited mobility, Parkinson’s Disease, and other health conditions may find pushing down on a soap dispenser challenging. Automatic hand soap dispensers, like this one from Everlasting, nix this issue. The touchless dispenser is similar to the ones you may have experienced in public restrooms. Simply put your hand under it, and, thanks to a sensor, the device will dispense soap. Your loved one can thoroughly wash their hands independently, helping to mitigate diseases and infections and get on with their day.
OasisSpace Stand-Alone Toilet Safety Rail
Perhaps one of the most humbling aspects of getting older is being unable to use the toilet independently and safely. But this stand-alone toilet safety rail, made by OasisSpace, may provide a solution for older adults. The handrails provide strong support for older adults, particularly those with arthritis, balance issues, or recovering from surgery, who would like to use the toilet autonomously. It can be adjusted to stand from 24 to 31 inches tall and supports up to 300 lbs. It fits standard toilets and is easy for caregivers to assemble.
Gorilla Grip Patented Bath Tub and Shower Mat
Having a loved one slip and fall in the tub or shower is often a great fear for caregivers. Gorilla Grip’s patented bathtub and shower mat can mitigate trip risks. The mat is large (35 by 16 inches), so it can accommodate most baths and showers. Caregivers will love that it’s machine washable. It’s essential for caregivers to suction the mat before each use to prevent falls.
Eagle Health Supplies Pro-Slide Bathtub Transfer Bench and Sliding Shower Chair
Another device to make bath-time safer, this Eagle Health Supplies pro-slide bathtub transfer bench and sliding shower chair, can reduce fall risks. It boasts a strong frame and textured seat that locks at each end to keep your loved one safe. A person can easily slide in and out of the tub or shower, which also lessens issues like skin tears and infections that often happen with other seats. Not only does this negate pain on the older adult, but it’s less work for the caregiver. The chair can hold up to 400 lbs.
Older adults are at a greater risk for falls and injuries. This fact, combined with reduced mobility, can make once-simple tasks like using the bathroom, washing their hands, or taking a shower more difficult. Caregivers can help, but doing so takes time. It may also be tough for older adults to lose autonomy. Bathroom aids, like faucet extenders, grab bars, and transfer benches, can make it easier and safer for older adults to practice good hygiene with autonomy. Caregivers will enjoy seeing them happier and more independent, as well as the much-needed spare time.