Taking a simple shower for the average mobile person may be simple and routine. For some elderly people with restricted movements who have no choice but to use a standard shower unit, it can be difficult, unsafe, or even impossible. The elderly who are unable to use a conventional shower often need a special shower unit or features.
If you care for a family member who is elderly and immobile, you may wish to evaluate which of the available special showers and features are available to you. Here are a few ideas to consider for your special shower stall.
Low Profile Shower Base
For those who need to use their showers with the assistance of a shower wheelchair, you will likely require a larger shower stall complemented with a special low profile threshold that the wheels of the chair can easily glide over. This will make it possible for caretakers to move the elderly person into the shower without danger to let the patient attend to his/her personal hygiene.
In a conventional shower, grab bars of all sizes and shapes can be installed at specific locations on the walls where it is convenient for the elderly person to safely hold on for his/her support and balance.
Adjustable Height Shower Heads
A shower head that is adjustable for height will allow an elderly person to shower while either sitting or standing.
Hand Held Shower Heads
For the person who has limited movements or is unable to stand in a shower, you can install a flexible shower head. The handicapped person will be able to shower while sitting and still and direct the water flow wherever he/she needs it. Showerhead brackets are also available that can be placed at a convenient location on the wall to keep it accessible from a sitting position.
For the person who is able to enter the shower unassisted, but who finds it difficult to remain standing, a shower unit with an adjustable seat and a hand-held showerhead will allow him/her to shower without fear of falling.
To ensure that your elderly family member is less likely to slip and fall in the shower, install a fiberglass floor surface with grit. It will usually offset the slippery conditions of the wet floor. There are also special antislip adhesive tapes that come in rolls and can be cut to fit the shower base floor to make it more secure.
Shower Entry Doors
Give your elderly person easier access to the shower by installing a double entry door rather than a single door with a 24-inch width. With the wider entry, which is usually between 32 and 36-inches, mobility challenged people will be able to maneuver a wheelchair or walker through the door into the shower.
Mobility challenged often find it difficult to reach a light switch, so make sure they're readily accessible and that there is nothing restricting their access. Provide plenty of light for your elderly family member in the bathroom. Adequate light is usually necessary to create a safe environment.