Finding and Using the Best Shower Chair for You
Using a shower chair is a simple undertaking for the average person. But then again, only some people use a shower chair on a routine basis.
I found myself in need of one for a while last year.
I had a total knee replacement and had to learn to do a few things again. These were things that I would usually take for granted, like dressing, climbing stairs, and bathing.
So I needed to get a shower chair. I took pain meds for the knee and was in a weakened condition from the surgery, so I had to be careful with my balance. Being able to take a shower was very relaxing.
But safety was a primary concern, and bathrooms are where it’s easy to slip and fall.
I wanted a shower chair that would fit my needs. There’s been more than one occasion when I sat on a chair, only to find myself on the floor among pieces of a ruined chair. (I’m not too fond of those aluminum lawn chairs)
Here are a few things I wanted my shower chair to have:
First – Would it hold my weight?
- This is very important. I was working on recovery and did not want an accident. I did not want to “hope” it was strong enough; I wanted to be “confident” it would hold up with no problems.
Second – Will it fit in my bathtub?
- I measured the inside width of the base of the tub and then compared that to the estimated footprint of the chair. Most of these chairs will fit in a standard tub, but it is good to measure just to be sure.
Third – Which overall design do I want?
- They come with or without arms, backs, soap holders, etc. I decided I wanted a back, but I did not need arms.
I had already installed a couple of grab bars inside the tub area that was very useful for sitting down, getting up, or getting in and out.
The chair arms are useful for those who don’t have grab bars near the tub. I am a carpenter, and I have an article on the safe installation of grab bars you may like to read.
Finally – It needed to be light and easy to move.
- I knew my wife would want to help me in any way she could and one way was to prepare the bathroom for my use.
Put the shower chair in the tub, get a towel/soap, etc. I wanted to be sure she could easily handle it without hurting her back. (One injury recovery at a time, please.)
Using a shower chair makes perfect sense for people when they need one. There’s no use in taking a chance of injury due to falling.
The bathroom is full of wet, hard surfaces, and it’s easy to get hurt if you’re not careful. Also, there’s the fact that you want to have an enjoyable, relaxing bath, which is hard to do if you’re apprehensive about falling.
Another issue is when the person getting in the tub has difficulty lifting their legs over the tub side to step into the bathtub. There may be balance problems or just mobility issues that prevent a safe bath.
This could be caused by medications or medical conditions, or both.
In that case, consider a tub transfer bench. These are specifically made to address this problem.
They are longer (like a bench) and are placed half in and half out of the tub. The person using the transfer bench can sit on the bench outside the tub, then slide over, raising their legs, one at a time, over the side.
This keeps them seated and safe as they enter and exit the bathtub.
Here is a short list of things to consider when shopping for your shower chair.
Armrests and Back Support
- Do you have grab bars? Do you want to lean back? Some chairs have arms and backs that are removable.
- Most shower chairs are height-adjustable. The chair should be tall enough so that your feet are placed flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90- degree angle.
- Typically, the legs are made of a rust-resistant material, like aluminum. They will have slip-resistant tips that grip the shower floor.
Size and Weight
- Check the chair’s height, width, and depth to ensure it fits into your bath. Make sure the chair’s weight capacity is adequate or better. The weight capacity should be clearly stated in the product description.
Compartments and Holders
- Shower chairs may come with storage compartments and convenient slots to hold a handheld showerhead, soap, or shampoo. You can also get add-on bags to hold all these toiletries.
Any shower chair will be completely rust-proof, and some may require simple assembly. Also, they’re really complemented by the use of a shower wand and a long hose.
I still have my shower chair. Though it’s not currently in use. I think I’ll keep it around. It’s affordable, comfortable, and easy to use. Everything should be easy.