Saturday, May 29, 2010

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

On to bathing safety!

If you're not able to safely get in the tub for a bath, or to stand to shower anymore, then you need to consider adjusting things to make showering safer. Grab bars are often the first line of defense in this instance, and the first thing I did in my house for my mother.

You can see that this grab bar is placed so Mom has something to hold onto as she is bending over to turn the water on. This is also the bar she uses when she actually lifts her legs over to get into the tub. Fortunately, the handyman who installed the grab bars was able to anchor this grab bar into the studs on both ends, so it is easily able to withstand a great deal of weight.

This bar is for stability while standing and showering. It is longer, allowing for something to hold onto from almost any point in the tub. Grab bars come in all shapes, sizes and finishes. I believe the ones I installed are 2 and 3 feet long, and are brushed nickel. They were fairly inexpensive, around $25 each.

You can get grab bars in white plastic, polished chrome, you can even find designer grab bars that match your fixtures, of course you'll pay more for these. Grab bars are readily available in stores like Lowe's or Home Depot, and you'll find them in the plumbing section. Medical equipment companies also carry them, and they are comparable in price to the big box stores. I was really fortunate to find a great handyman through the medical equipment company I used for some other things. He installed the grab bars in about 20 minutes, and it only cost $50.

There is a lot of variety when it comes to bath/shower chairs. This one is molded plastic. The legs snap in place, and they can be adjusted by turning them. There is an optional back, that we have chosen not to use. It's lightweight, but very durable, and can hold up to 400 pounds. Also note the tub mat in place, to provide a less slick surface for feet and chair legs.

When looking at a tub bench it is important to remember to measure your tub width. I knew my tub was on the narrow side, so I made sure to measure it, and I'm glad I did. The first bench I looked at, which was a little less expensive than this one was a little too wide to fit all four legs squarely and evenly on the bottom of the tub, which is crucial for safety. You want to make sure the legs aren't on the curve of the tub. And be sure to measure front and back legs, because the other bench I looked at had about a half inch difference in width from front to back.

Weight limit is another consideration. It does seem that most of the benches I looked at are now automatically super-sized, accommodating 300 pounds or higher. This was not always the case, because back when I worked in the hospital we usually had to specify when we needed something to accommodate more than 200 pounds.

When I priced the benches in the big box store, they were twice what I paid for this bench at the medical equipment company, and with nowhere near the selection of the medical equipment company.

The last item we got for the tub was the hand held shower. This type is inexpensive--only $18 at the big box hardware store, and even better, it just screws on to the existing pipe. No special tools, no plumber. It even came with a little aluminum tape. You can spend a lot more if you want, but if you think the need is only temporary, this is really all you need. It makes showering while sitting more pleasant, because you don't have to have the shower pounding in your face, and since you can't move to let the shower hit different body parts, the shower can do all the moving.

Hopefully this has given you some good pointers for making bathing a safe and still pleasurable experience. We'll tackle the rest of the bathroom next.

No comments:

Post a Comment