There are a variety of things that you can do to make a shower stall safer for an elderly person and there are also some wonderful products that you can use to help you accomplish that goal.
Here, in this article I’m going to share with you some of the products that I used to help my patients (and my mother eventually) to create a shower stall to help them prevent falls and possible other injuries in the shower stall.
DeCluttering The Shower Stall
A product that I have always recommended since they first came out many years ago was some kind of wall mounted dispenser. I bought this particular one made by ToiletTree (pictured to the right) from Amazon for my mother. We glued it onto her tile shower wall and it made her so much more independent as she showered.
This Deluxe Shampoo and Soap Dispenser comes with a 5 year warranty which I liked and it matched much of my mother’s bathroom decor so that made her happy. It eliminates the need for multiple bottles in the shower, gives you a clear view of how much is left in each container and best of all, it’s very easy to use for someone with poor hand strength and dexterity. Each container holds 16 ounces of product.
Products like these are a great way to eliminate the need for having separate bottles and also, for anyone who may have trouble handling wet bottles (due to arthritis or other ailments) these wall mounted dispensers can make their showering experience so much easier.
I prefer the ones that clearly show how much is left in each chamber. Also, using shampoo, conditioners and body soap that are different colors may be helpful for seniors who can’t read the labels without their glasses.
Another little “trick” to make identifying what is in each bottle easier are these great little Shower Band Labels that you can wrap around each bottle.
Of course, the placement of this dispenser is important so make sure to ask your senior loved one to sit or stand in the shower and go through the process as if they are showering. This will help you identify where to best put this product. Remember, it’s not something that can be easily removed once it’s glued on to the wall.
I know there are hanging organizers that can be placed in the shower and generally, for seniors, I don’t recommend these products. I don’t recommend anything that can move because if they go to remove something from there or put something back and they accidentally move the entire organizer – other things on there can fall.
If you need somewhere in the shower to hang something like a loofah sponge I can tell you that I have been using these strong suction hooks by Hasko in my own shower for years and they are amazing.
They are very affordable, corrosion resistant (which is great for showers). There’s no need to drill holes to mount them – just wet the suction cup, place the hook and twist. Each hook holds up to 22 pounds. I will tell you that they do lose their suction after several months so what I do is to twist the knob on the first day of every month just slightly which increases the suction and they haven’t fallen down for over a year.
Make The Floors As Non Slip As Possible
Making your shower stall floor non-slip is very important for everyone, but especially for elders.
Believe it or not, there are products out there like Stone Grip that you can apply to a large variety of stone or mineral flooring that will make it less slippery and reduce the risk of falls.
Shower Grab Bars
I know that these days, there are grab bars that can be suctioned on to a shower wall but I have used those before and they don’t last very long and they don’t always support the weight of the person using it. So, I would recommend to not use them.
I know this means having to actually install grab bars and if your shower is tiled this means you probably have to call in a professional to do the job and hopefully he/she won’t crack the tile while doing so.
This is a tension mounted pole which could be fastened to the ceiling (for extra security) avoiding the whole tile cutting issue.
Of course, if the placement of this product interferes with the safe mobility of your elderly parent(s) in the shower stall then it’s not worth it. I would then recommend the installation of a wall mounted grab bar.
Transfer Benches and Shower Chairs
In case you are wondering what a transfer bench is, it’s simply a longer version of a shower chair and it’s used mainly to go over the bathtub. So, if your shower is inside the bathtub and you want to avoid having your elderly loved one step over the tub to get inside, a transfer bench is the easiest solution. A basic model like this Plastic Transfer Bench would work well for most seniors.
But you can also use a transfer bench in walk in showers if it’s a large shower.
I know my mother’s shower stall was an open shower and it was large. From the opening of the shower it was 4 steps to walk to where the shower head was.
Although my mother was never in a wheelchair – if she had been. I could see us putting a shower bench in the shower, bringing her to the shower doorway with the wheelchair and having her stand and pivot onto the shower bench then simply sliding over towards the shower head.