By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
Many older homes have tubs with a shower
attached, while others have a single shower
stall. Each can pose different safety risks,
especially after water has had its chance to
saturate the area! The most transfer-friendly
option is of course, a shower stall. If
possible, a caregiver should consider replacing
an existing tub with a stall and a shower chair.
If not feasible, below are some tips for
transfers in a tub.
- Position the person so that the backs of
their legs touch the bathtub and are in line
with the tub chair.
- If using a chair, have the person reach and
grab the back of the tub chair.
- The other hand then grabs the side of the
tub, or an assistive device
- The caregiver can slowly lower the person
onto the side of the chair.
- Take the hand on the tub or other device,
and place it on the shower chair.
- Lift the legs up one at a time and swing
them into the tub.
- The person should be positioned in the
center of the chair or stool.
- Reverse to transfer out of tub.
Some helpful products for this type of transfer
include a bench with adjustable legs and a seat
large enough for the person being assisted. The
bench is made to straddle the outside of the
tub/shower combo, and allows for help both in and
outside the wet area.
To assist a loved one with greater flexibility
and mobility, a simple tub chair can be placed
inside for the person to transfer to. A chair with a
handle, suction legs and a backrest may cost a
little more, but increase the safety of a loved one
while in the tub.
On Solid Ground
Another essential tool for a bathroom transfer is
a non-skid bath mat. Standing on a wet, unsteady
surface makes a loved one feel uneasy and scared,
making transfers for a caregiver very difficult. A
bath mat provides support and security for both. It
is more difficult to assist someone who is not
comfortable with a situation and tensing up. A
caregiver should always make every effort to keep
their loved one calm and collected during a
Grab bars are a must for any caregiver looking to
make a loved one’s bathroom transfer-friendly.
First, a grab bar (or more) is helpful for getting
in and out of the tub, and can be placed on the
surrounding walls or cabinets. Second, grab bars for
in the tub offer support while standing to shower
and rinse off, as well as transfer in and out. Here
are some suggestions for grab bar placement,
as suggested by an Internet article entitled “Bath
Safety for Seniors”:
- A vertically placed U bar, fixed to the side
wall at the base of the tub, ensures safe entry
- Horizontally placed support bars are
appropriate for lowering or raising the body in
- Diagonally placed grab bars are not
suggested as the hand may slip thus increasing
the chances of a fall.