Many people are embarrassed to use a shower chair. They may feel that it is a sign that they have fallen out of shape and are not strong enough to get around the house without assistance. But the truth is that getting a shower chair will actually improve your mobility and independence. It may even enable you to live in a new home. And even though the health-care system in Canada isn’t the best at helping people get the help they need, you can take the steps to get a shower chair if you wish.
People who have lived for a long time in one place tend to develop good coping mechanisms for daily living. This often means people can move around a bit more easily without needing any kind of support or assistance. For this reason, a shower chair can be a great asset in a senior’s life.
Here are some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to get a shower chair.
Needs that can be easily filled
A bathtub may be a lot of fun but it can also be tricky if your hands are a bit shaky or you’re using a walker. And a wash cloth doesn’t do a whole lot for you if you’re using it to wash your hair. This is why many people who have had some kind of surgery or had a fall are eager to get a shower chair. This way they don’t need to get into the tub and they can reach around and wash up with one hand.
That’s not the only place where a shower chair is good. Anywhere that there are stairs, the stairs can be a problem for seniors who use a walker or cane. A chair can save you from having to use your arms to hold yourself up or get down.
You get to sit down
Many people prefer to sit down when they get a shower, but that’s not an option when you are in the tub. If you are in a chair and your head is resting on the rim of the tub, you can take a moment to get back into shape. And no one will notice if you take a longer time to shower because you can always get to a basin or running water to rinse your hair and soap off.
Stiffness and pain
In addition to giving you more mobility, a shower chair can help with stiffness and pain caused by a broken or strained neck, back, legs and arms. The chair can stabilize your posture, allowing you to get into a good position. With proper positioning, you may feel less sore and more energetic after a shower.
A good chair is easy to transport
Some people may need a shower chair so they don’t have to spend an entire day cleaning the bathroom. A shower chair makes this possible. And it makes it easier to take a shower if you’ve had to climb stairs or go up a steep staircase.
You may not need a chair all the time
Sometimes you may just need to sit down when you are getting ready to get in the shower. If you find it a bit harder to bend over and put your head under the spray, it can also make you feel better if you use a chair. And when you do need a chair, you can take it with you when you move into your new home.
Tips for buying a shower chair
Try to get one with three wheels
A four-wheeled chair is easier to transport and use than a three-wheeler. A good four-wheeler has a wide seat with a bottom that supports you. If you need extra support, add some pillows to the back of the chair.
Do your homework
Don’t wait until you need a chair before you research it. Talk to your family doctor, geriatric care manager, or an older adult’s centre near you. Sometimes other health-care workers, such as home health care workers, are able to help you find one that works for you. And some centres will even provide you with one if you can’t afford one.
Seats are important
If you are using a wheelchair, you will need to find a chair with a back. If your chair has no back, you may want to look for a chair with a back that lifts and folds.
Measure twice, cut once
Because each chair has different dimensions, the back is likely to vary from chair to chair. To make sure that the seat fits the back of your chair, measure first. Be sure to measure the widest part of your chair as well as the seat itself. Don’t forget to also measure the height of the seat from the floor.