Updated August 2022
As people age, tasks that were once second nature can become more of a challenge. Even bathing — once a ritual not only for hygiene but relaxation — can become a source of stress for older individuals and their caregivers. And even just the nature of bathrooms, such as the hard floors and wet surfaces, can feel like a recipe for injury. People who are getting older, or who have limited mobility are already at a higher risk of falling on dry floors which is why bathroom aids can be so important.
Caregivers often step in to help the person maintain good hygiene while staying safe. But doing so comes at a cost — it’s time-consuming, for one. It can also mark a loss of independence for the aging person. That can affect their mood and overall well-being, which no friend or family member wants to see.
While many are using apps like WayWiser to track health conditions and any incidents that occur in the bathroom, simply storing information and coordinating care with your family isn’t a complete solution.
Sometimes, such as in instances where a person is in the late stages of dementia, helping them in the bathroom is inevitable. But other times, a few handy tools can help the person help themselves. Here’s what to know about the top bathrooms aids to increase independence and safety.
Benefits of Bathroom Aids
For caregivers, figuring out whether bathroom aids are worth it and finding the best ones is an investment of time and money. But if a loved one needs help in the bathroom, it may well be worth it. Here are some perks to bathroom aids.
- More time for the caregiver. Though sifting through products and reviews takes time, you’ll get those precious minutes back in spades when the person you are caring for is able to do specific tasks themselves again.
- Independence and dignity for the aging person. Struggling to use the toilet or shower can feel deflating. These tasks are supposed to be simple and private. It can be tough for the caregiver to watch a person they are close with struggle. With the help of specialized, a person can regain independence and dignity in the bathroom.
- Safety. Older adults are already more prone to falls and injuries like broken bones. These incidents and injuries can be troubling for their caregivers, as well as add an ER visit to their already long to-do lists. Bathroom aids enhance safety, helping to mitigate fall risks and associated consequences.
- Better hygiene. Washing hands and showering helps eliminate germs, and using the toilet is essential. If an older person cannot complete these tasks, it creates potentially unsafe living conditions and increases the risk for disease and infections. Having useful devices can ensure they remain clean and practice self-care.
Best Bathroom Aids for Older Adults
Bathroom aids take various forms and come at a range of price points. These devices are some of the best on the market.
Munchkin Faucet Extender 2 Piece Set
Nearly 9,000 reviewers have given the Munchkin faucet extender 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. As the name implies, the device extends out from the faucet, bringing the water closer to a person’s hands. In turn, an older adult does not need to reach or bend forward to wash their hands, rinse their toothbrush, or re-fill their cup, reducing the risk for injury and strain on areas like the back. Caregivers won’t need any tools to put this faucet extender on the sink, and installation is known for being a cinch.
GE LED Nightlight
If an older adult can see where they are going, it lessens the likelihood they’ll trip or get injured. This LED by GE nightlight uses light-sensing technology to ensure it comes on when a room is dark and shuts off when it’s light. Sometimes, lights are hot, and touching them can increase the risk of burns. But this nightlight is cool to touch. Caregivers will love how low-maintenance it is. Simply plug it in to install. The LED light is long-lasting—there are no bulbs to replace. It comes in a pack of two, and it boasts a 4.7-star rating out of 5 stars from nearly 19,000 Amazon reviewers.
Gotega Two-Pack Shower Grab Bar
Getting into and out of a shower or tub can present a slip risk for older adults. These stainless steel shower grab bars from Gotega can provide your loved one with the support they need to navigate bath or shower time more safely. They are firm and can handle up to 500 lbs.
AquaDance High-Pressure Handheld Shower Head
Once a person is in the shower or tub, they’ll need to be able to use it to clean themselves effectively. A handheld showerhead allows them to do so from whatever position is safest and most comfortable for them. AquaDance’s handheld showerhead has a five-foot, flexible hose that is easy to extend to wherever a person needs, and the ergonomic grip handle makes it easier for a person to hold. The six different water settings let the older adult choose the best one for them, enhancing their comfort in the shower or tub.
Everlasting Comfort Automatic Hand Soap Dispenser
If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s about the importance of rigorous hand-washing. Soap, of course, is part of that process. But people with tremors, arthritis, limited mobility, Parkinson’s Disease, and other health conditions may find pushing down on a soap dispenser challenging. Automatic hand soap dispensers, like this one from Everlasting, nix this issue. The touchless dispenser is similar to the ones you may have experienced in public restrooms. Simply put your hand under it, and, thanks to a sensor, the device will dispense soap. Your loved one can thoroughly wash their hands independently, helping to mitigate diseases and infections and get on with their day.
OasisSpace Stand-Alone Toilet Safety Rail
Perhaps one of the most humbling aspects of getting older is being unable to use the toilet independently and safely. But this stand-alone toilet safety rail, made by OasisSpace, may provide a solution for older adults. The handrails provide strong support for older adults, particularly those with arthritis, balance issues, or recovering from surgery, who would like to use the toilet autonomously. It can be adjusted to stand from 24 to 31 inches tall and supports up to 300 lbs. It fits standard toilets and is easy for caregivers to assemble.
Gorilla Grip Patented Bath Tub and Shower Mat
Having a loved one slip and fall in the tub or shower is often a great fear for caregivers. Gorilla Grip’s patented bathtub and shower mat can mitigate trip risks. The mat is large (35 by 16 inches), so it can accommodate most baths and showers. Caregivers will love that it’s machine washable. It’s essential for caregivers to suction the mat before each use to prevent falls.
Eagle Health Supplies Pro-Slide Bathtub Transfer Bench and Sliding Shower Chair
Another device to make bath-time safer, this Eagle Health Supplies pro-slide bathtub transfer bench and sliding shower chair, can reduce fall risks. It boasts a strong frame and textured seat that locks at each end to keep your loved one safe. A person can easily slide in and out of the tub or shower, which also lessens issues like skin tears and infections that often happen with other seats. Not only does this negate pain on the older adult, but it’s less work for the caregiver. The chair can hold up to 400 lbs.
Juvo Toilet Aid – 18” Long Reach Personal Wiping Aid with Hygienic Cover
People with limited mobility may struggle with wiping themselves. This challenge can feel deflating. Juvo’s 18-inch personal wiping aid allows patients to keep some independence and dignity. It’s long, so it will enable the person to reach back and do what they need to do. The toilet paper easily stays in place and releases because of an easy-to-squeeze trigger lock. The hygienic cover goes over the tip and is easy to wash, ensuring the device stays sanitary and safe.
Vaunn Medical Adjustable Bathtub Safety Rail
Many falls happen as a senior attempts to get in or out of a tub. But this rail aims to reduce these instances, which can be dangerous for an aging person. It can adjust to the intended user’s size and comes with a padded rubber clamp that secures it to the side of the tub. The one-piece steel frame makes the firm and allows it to support people up to 300 lbs. It’s received 4.6 out of five stars from previous buyers on Amazon, who say it was just what they or their loved one with mobility issues needed to get in and out of the shower or tub safely.
Health Line Massage Products Shower Chair for Inside Shower
This shower chair makes hygiene safe, convenient, and comfortable. It swivels 360 degrees, so the user can shower in whatever direction is most comfortable for them. It’s also thoughtfully designed with a drainage shelf underneath the seat, allowing people to stash soaps and lotions they may need easy access to while showering. It’s popular among previous buyers on Amazon, who have given it a 4.7-star rating out of five stars and rave about the quality and durability. It can support individuals who weigh up to 350 lbs. Six leg adjustment options allow a person to set up the chair so that it stands between 16.3 and 20 inches tall.
Vive Bath Shower Step Stool
Sometimes, a person may need some extra help reaching things or stepping over the side of a bath/shower. This 4.5-inch bath-shower step stool provides that small lift. Its slip-resistant surface helps protect against falls. This versatile stool can also be repurposed throughout the house, such as in a kitchen, to help a person reach a higher cabinet. You can also buy several and stack them using safety clips, creating a staircase that makes getting in and out of bed. The unconditional lifetime guarantee may give you added confidence in the product.
Rock Steady Cane
Crutches and walkers are hallmark ways for people to move around and stay steady as they age. But this Rock Steady cane boasts a 100 square-inch footprint, which forms a solid foundation that can replace aids. That said, a person will still need to have upper body strength to use it, as it requires pushing down. The Rock Steady cane can help a person get on and off the toilet or in and out of the shower with appropriate support. It’s versatile, too. It can also travel with a person, helping them get in and out of vehicles and more or aid them during walks.
Able Life Universal Floor to Ceiling Grab Bar
Unlike grab bars that affix to an edge or wall in the shower or tub, this option from Able Life runs from the floor to the ceiling. It’s less bulky and permanent, and you may find it easier to install. The tall bar aids in safe transfers into the shower or tub. It comes with rubber pads to protect the ceiling and floor from damage. The highest height is nine feet tall, and the aid support individuals up to 300 lbs.
Vaunn Medical Bathroom Adjustable Height Toilet Rail Grab Bar and Commode Safety Frame Handle
Bath and shower bars are common aids. But toilet aids aren’t talked about as much. People with mobility issues may struggle to get on and off of the toilet, which can be upsetting. They may not want assistance with this task but may require more help than a cane or walker can give. Vaunn’s medical-grade toilet grab rail is strong and sturdy, so it supports people up to 300 lbs. The anti-slip tip stops it from sliding, keeping your loved one safe. It’s portable, so you can use it in multiple bathrooms.
Vive Tong Wiping Aid – Self Wiper Long Handle
These easy-to-clean tongs are another way to allow someone with mobility issues to wipe themselves. They’re lightweight but sturdy and affordable at only $12.99. Previous buyers give them four-out-of-five stars on Amazon.
Shampoo Basin Portable Lightweight and Foldable Shampoo Basin
Rails and stools make bathing and showering safer and more accessible to older people. But sometimes, it’s best if they do not get in the bath or shower at all. This foldable shampoo basin is particularly useful for bedridden patients. It catches the water, allowing you to wash your loved one without as much clean-up required. The basin is easy to store in a closet, decreasing clutter in a home.
IMPRESA Super Wide Socks With Non-Skid Grips for Lymphedema
Because slips are so common, particularly in the bathroom, multiple layers of protection can literally be life-saving. These no-slip socks from IMPRESA have non-skid grips that can make walking on a bathroom floor safer. Of course, they can also be worn anywhere in the house for comfort and added protection.
DMI Step Stool with Handle and Non-Skid Rubber Platform, Lightweight and Sturdy Stool for Seniors
This sturdy stool’s platform is 9.5 inches from the ground and helps people grab harder-to-reach items while providing stability. The textured matting and reinforced rubber tips allow the person using the stool and the stool itself from wobbling. When using the product in the bathroom, make sure to place it on a dry surface to better ensure safety.
Homecraft Padded Raised Toilet Seat without Lid
This raised toilet seat makes using the bathroom easier and more comfortable for older individuals. It raises the seat four inches, making it easier to get on and off the toilet. A caregiver can secure it with hooks and straps that come with the product. The cushioning adds to the user’s comfort.
Older adults are at a greater risk for falls and injuries. This fact, combined with reduced mobility, can make once-simple tasks like using the bathroom, washing their hands, or taking a shower more difficult. Caregivers can help, but doing so takes time. It may also be tough for older adults to lose autonomy. Bathroom aids, like faucet extenders, grab bars, and transfer benches, can make it easier and safer for older adults to practice good hygiene with autonomy. Caregivers will enjoy seeing them happier and more independent, as well as the much-needed spare time.