There are many aids designed to make the bathroom a safer place.
Toileting Aids (toilet frames and raised toilet seats)
There are several aids that can help if you are having trouble using the toilet. Toilet frames and raised toilet seats help you to stand up from the toilet. Toilet frames are metal structures that surround the toilet giving you something to lean on. Raised toilet seats can be attached to existing toilet seats to add height making it easier to stand up from or sit down on the toilet.
What should my toilet frame be made of?
A steel toilet frame can hold more weight (about 190kg or 30 stone) than an aluminium one (about 160kg or 25 stone). However an aluminium toilet frame is much lighter (about 1.9kg) than a steel frame (about 4kg). If you just want a toilet frame that will stay in your bathroom and not be moved then a steel frame is better because it will be more solid and will provide more support.
Folding or rigid toilet frame?
There are toilet frames that fold away when not in use. You might not need to fold away the frame, but if you do, the weight of the frame is a consideration. The folding frames are good when the bathroom is being shared, but if you want a permanent toilet frame then choose a rigid frame, which won’t need to be moved or stored.
Do I need armrests or not?
There are different types of armrests on toilet frames. Armrests make the frame more comfortable to use. They also give you a larger surface to lean on and give you more support. There is usually a choice between plastic or padded, and the padded ones are usually more comfortable.
Padded or solid seats?
Padded seats are more comfortable, but they might be slightly harder to stand up from as they become a little squashed when you sit on them.
Why do some seats have arms?
Some raised toilet seats come with arms for extra support, which would save money on buying a toilet frame. Some arms move up and down so that they can be moved out of the way when not in use.
Non-slip Bath Mats
What size bath mat?
These come in all shapes and sizes. Just make sure you get a bath mat that you get a bath mat that fits in the bath or shower. Some bath mats come with a cushioned part for use in the bath.
Suction cups or no suction cups?
Most non-slip bath mats use suction cups and work well. Some have a peel and stick adhesive on them, however, these are more expensive. However, there are also the non-slip bath stickers that have an adhesive, which avoid the need to clean or dry the bath mat. The stickers come in different shapes and sizes.
Bath and shower seats and boards
What is a bath board?
A bath board is used to sit on before swinging your feet over the edge of the bath, which makes it safer when getting into the bath particularly if you have difficulty with movement. It can be used as a shower seats to rest your legs while showering.
What is a swivel seat?
A swivel seat is a bath chair that swivels round on a base unit that sits on the rim of the bath like a bath or shower board. It helps aid getting in and out of the bath and can also be used while in the shower as a shower seat. A swivel chair makes it easier to swing your legs over the side of the bath without having to slide along a bath board but are much more expensive. It can be used as a shower seats to rest your legs while showering.
What is a bath seat?
A bath seat is used to sit higher in the bath making it easier to sit down rather than lowering yourself to the bottom of the bath.
How do I get more comfortable in the bath?
One way that is very popular is using a bathing or support cushion. They are inflatable cushions that give support for your head, neck and upper back.
There are also other bath aids that help make tasks in the bath easier, for example, tap turners, long handed sponges, grab rails, bath thermometers, bath level alerts, mirrors with lights and shower caps.
Bathroom Grab Rails
There are four main functions of a grab rail:
- You can push or pull against it when standing up,
- You have support when sitting down,
- You can stabilize yourself when transferring your position,
- You can improve balance when standing, walking or dressing.
Bathroom grab rails reduce the risk of a fall while getting into and out of the bath.
Metal or Plastic?
Plastic grab bars feel warmer than metal grab bars. The plastic is hard wearing and will reduce the effects of condensation, which can cause metal grab bars to be more slippery. Metal grab bars are stronger and safer than plastic grab bars as they can hold more weight. There are even grab rails that are metal with a plastic coating so that they are strong, but also have the less slippery surface of plastic to reduce the risk of accidents further.
Where should I position the grab rail?
This depends on how the rail is positioned. Horizontal rails 60cm long should be placed between 30 and 90cm from the non-tap end of the bath and should be 10cm above the edge of the bath. Vertical rails should be positioned 50cm from the tap end and the bottom end should be 20cm above the rim of the bath. An inclined rail should be slanted 13° upwards towards the head end of the bath: the lower end should be positioned 2 cm above the bath rim and upper end 24 cm.
Wall mounted or floor to ceiling?
Wall mounted grab rails are helpful when in the shower because they can be used while you take a shower or bath, but floor to ceiling rails can be more helpful when turning to get in and out of the shower or bath.
Suction Cup or screwed in grab rails?
Grab rails are only as strong as the wall they are attached to.
If you use suction cup grab rails you will rely on the tiles on the wall to support you. If the tiles are not secured on the wall properly then you may fall and hurt yourself. The suction cup may also not be very strong and may not be able to hold that much weight. While grab rails that are screwed into the wall may be stronger, there is a risk that the wall may not be strong enough to hold them.
Are there any other types of grab rails?
Clamp-on bathtub safety bars are secured to the bathtub. They use clamps that provide a stable structure to grab. They should be tightened so that they are as safe as they can be and they are also helpful when getting into and out of the bath. These grab bars are also portable, but are bigger than a suction cup grab bar.
The rail has to be a good distance from the wall to allow for the best handgrip (about 5cm from the wall). You must also be able to wrap your hand around it. Think of your hand size before settling on a diameter.
Should it be bent or straight?
It doesn’t make much of a difference. A bent grab rail is put on the wall so that the upper part of the rail is vertical and the lower part acts as a forearm rest to use for support while standing up. Straight handrails can be placed vertically, horizontally or at an angle, whichever is more comfortable.
How many grab rails should I have?
Two grab bars at least while using the bath or shower, but make sure that they are positioned so that you can grab both of them at the same time especially when getting in and out of the bath.
What if my hand slips off the grab bar?
There are grab bars that have a set of ridges that will allow for a firmer grip. All grab bars should have non-slip surfaces.
How much weight can a grab bar hold?
The amount of weight a grab bar can hold depends on the grab bar and on the wall fixings. Check the weight capacity of the grab bar before installing and always use the correct fixing equipment.