As harmless as it may sound at first, falls are the most common case for non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions, contributing to 2.8 million injuries per year. In fact, according to the statistics of the National Council on Aging, each year every fourth senior American falls. Even worse, some falls can lead to fatal consequences: the death of 27,000 seniors every year are related to this kind of incident, usually occurring in the bathroom and on stairs. Luckily, there are several options meant to protect aging residents from falling and a potential untimely passing. Climbing the stairs can be safer and easier with a stair lift, while setting up a torsion bar at the bathtub or placing a bench in the shower prevents slipping. In fact, equipping the bathroom of an elderly or disabled person with the latter aids is highly recommended to provide peace of mind for the whole family.
Choosing the Right Stool or Bench
You can’t rush to a hardware store and just pick the first shower bench from the shelves; there are several factors that must be taken into account before purchasing such a complementary. First, make sure that the bathroom is spacious enough for being equipped with a bench and it doesn’t interfere with other objects, such as the toilet. Take into consideration that no matter how useful these benches are, elders with decreased flexibility should avoid using such a tool if bending and kneeling is difficult for them.
But what exact features matter when choosing a shower chair or bench? To begin with, adjustable height is a must, and preferably the bench also has a removable backrest for added comfort. You should check whether or not the bench is made of durable material, and if it’s capable of holding still even on wet surfaces. Last but not least, a shower bench should not only be compatible with different bathtubs, but foldable as well, so the elderly resident can bring it along for holiday or a family visit.
Prices of shower benches range between $50 and $200, with the more expensive models sporting some extra features. For example, there are commode style benches with an open space under the perineal area for cleaning, but there are also benches with suction cups for increased stability. But regardless of the extras, the portable version is recommended, because mounting a seat to the wall prevents you from relocating it and may result in unwanted accidents.
Recommended Shower Seats & Benches
After going into details about the pros and cons of shower benches, let us give you some ideas on where to start your research. Here are three quality products, all with their respective benefits.
Dr Kay’s Adjustable Shower Bench
Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair
Best Choice Products New Wall Mount Shower Bath Seat
Fall Alerts as Extra Safety Net
Medical alert systems and shower benches are true lifesavers, and when their powers are combined, they can provide enormous relief too. The portable help button is completely waterproof and can be worn on the wrist or neck. If the elderly resident feels a sudden pain or slips to the ground, the wearable button is still within reach and can be simply pushed, initiating an emergency call. If your relative is afraid of falling and losing consciousness, consider opting for a fall detection pendant that is capable of sensing sudden height changes and calling for help on its own. Medical alert companies, like Alert 1, even have emergency button models that can not only be easily mounted on the wall, but are also shower-proof and wireless. And if you place such a button close to the shower bench, you have the extra line of defense you were wishing for.
The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019