A dark blue header image with words in white that say Hints and tips on how to make bathing relaxing and accessible. There are white bubbles down the left and right side of the image.

The practice of bathing, often regarded as a commonplace self-care ritual, encompasses a range of physiological and psychological benefits. It’s true that indulging in a leisurely soak, particularly in a warm bubble-filled bath, is frequently overlooked as a privilege. Nonetheless, individuals who have limited mobility, either due to a disability or advancing age, face considerable challenges and hazards when manoeuvring in and out of a bathing environment. 

The English Housing Survey Home Adaptation Report 2019-20 found that bathrooms are the most commonly adapted, with 42% of households having some form of adaptation. There are many reasons why someone may need a bathroom adaptation, due to disability, their age, or recovery from surgery. A wide range of bathroom accessories and aids are available to maximise functionality and to make bathing a safe and comfortable experience. We provide some tips on how to improve your bathing experience, whilst suggesting some helpful products and providing links on where to purchase them. 

There are quick and easy ways to eliminate the risks of slips and falls whilst bathing or showering. Anti-slip bath and shower stickers are helpful to prevent slipping when applied to the base of a bath or shower and could be considered a necessity for most bathrooms. Bath steps are another brilliant aid to help eliminate a fall and are helpful for those who experience muscle stiffness and need a bit of extra help to get in and out of the bath. For extra security and stability whilst getting in and out of the bath or whilst showering, a grab bar is a helpful aid. It is fixed onto the side of the bath and can be used to steady yourself if lowering to sit in the bath, or to pull yourself up on to exit the tub. 

For those who have limited mobility or find it difficult getting in and out of a bath, a bath lift might be a great solution. Most fit into any standard sized bath and they enable you to sit onto the chair of the lift at whatever height is most comfortable, and then be lowered into the bath by use of the remote control. They are waterproof and designed for individual use or assisted use. You are then able to use the remote to be lifted back out of the bath.  

Some individuals with fragile skin may benefit from added comfort and cushioning, and might want to consider a bathing cushion bath lift. The lift has an inflatable cushion that lowers you in and out of the bath, and a small amount of air is kept inside the cushion whilst in the bath to provide additional comfort and support. They are easy to decompress and store and are completely portable so they can go on your travels with you. 

Similarly, inflatable bathing pillows and bathing cushions are helpful for those who struggle to get comfortable whilst bathing, for example those who may have arthritis or fragile skin. They suction to the bath to prevent movement and can be easily deflated and stored away.  

Another option to consider for individuals who have difficulty getting up from the bottom of the bath, is a bath seat. A bath seat suctions to the base of the bath, allowing the user to sit on it whilst bathing, and means that the height of the bath is adjusted to make it easier to get out from. Bath seats come in different heights to suit the needs of the user.  

If you have issues with stability and balance when showering, a bath board might be helpful in providing safety and comfort. They can be secured and placed over the bath, providing a platform to sit on when showering. Similarly, for those with limited mobility who are looking for extra stability, a transfer bath bench might be a better option. It sits with two legs inside the bath and two outside the bath on the floor. It also has a handle to provide extra stability whilst seated. 

To eliminate the need to step over the bath edge, and minimise the risk of a trip or fall, a swivelling bath seat is a great option. It fits over the bath and locks into place, allowing the user to sit down outside of the bath and then rotate into position. It has a sturdy back to provide extra support and allows the user to shower safely and comfortably.  

Individuals who struggle to maintain an upright seated position, or who are of shorter stature and prone to slipping down in the bath, might want to consider a bath shortener. It is designed to reduce the internal length of a bath and is placed at the foot to prevent the user from slipping down. It’s a perfect accessory for those wanting to enjoy their bathing experience by providing extra security as they rest their feet against something solid.  

If you experience difficulties with dexterity in your shoulders and hands, or experience muscle stiffness, you might find that washing aids such as long-handled sponges and exfoliators are extremely helpful. They can enable you to wash your shoulders, back, legs or feet without bending or over stretching.  

Certain health conditions and disabilities can sometimes affect a person’s perception of heat or temperature. Floating bath thermometers are able to give instant readings of the bath water and provide a visual warning for hot and cold extremes with an LCD display. It also re-checks the temperature every five seconds once in the water.  

This article is sponsored by Medequip – Manage At Home. We hope you have found this article helpful and informative. It’s important to note that this article has not been written by an Occupational Therapist and if you are experiencing difficulty showering or bathing it’s important to get an assessment by a health practitioner.  

To see the products on our website and for further information on where to purchase them, please click on the bold and underlined text. You can also find them listed below. 

The sources used for this article are listed below. 

A image of a white plastic bath lift seat, with suction pads on the legs. It has a remote control attached to it so it can mechanically lift and lower from the bath.

A bath lift.

An image of a silver coloured inflatable bed type cushion bath lift It is attached to a motor so it can inflate and lift and lower.

A bathing cushion lift.

An image of a white slatted bath seat, with suction cups on the feet to suction to the bottom of the bath.

A bath seat.

An image of a white cushions transferring bath bench. It has metal adjustable legs and a metal handle.

A transfer bath bench.

An image of a white plastic swivelling bath seat. It is fixed by mental arms to the edge of the bath.

A swivelling bath seat.

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