Bathroom Aids To Improve Senior Safety

The bathroom can be a particularly hazardous room within the home for seniors. Surfaces are often wet and seniors can be tired from energy demanding activities such as bathing. When these factors are combined together, an elderly individual may be at risk of slips, trips and falls. 

To overcome this risk, strengthening classes and falls education programs may assist a senior with developing the physical ability and knowledge needed to prevent a fall. However, without the use of bathroom aids to assist with transfers and help to conserve one’s energy, falls may continue to occur. 

This article will cover the best bathroom aids and the most common bathroom equipment setups to minimize a senior’s risk of falling.

Bathtub Equipment To Increase Senior Safety

Depending on the size of one’s home, the bathroom could potentially have many different layouts. Because assistive aids take up space, smaller bathrooms tend to be more restrictive in terms of the tools that one can use to support bathing. In contrast, larger bathrooms tend to have more open areas that allow use of a wider range of bathing aids. 

Seniors that have difficulty with bathing, commonly use these five bathtub aids:

Bath Chair with Backrest

For seniors living in homes with a smaller bathroom where a tub transfer bench would impede walking around the tub, alternate bathroom safety equipment may need to be considered. One alternate setup would be to have a bath chair with a backrest inside the tub. 


While this device will not help with stepping over the tub’s edge, it can help save one’s energy for this activity by allowing a senior to shower from seated. The chair can be easily height adjusted without any tools and features rubber feet to prevent it from sliding.

Tip: This device is only meant to support someone with having a shower from a sitting position and cannot be used for having a bath.

Tub Transfer Bench 

A tub transfer bench is a piece of bathroom safety equipment that sits partially inside the bathtub and partially outside of it. The purpose of this is to allow a senior to transfer into a bathtub/shower combo without stepping over the bathtub edge. This reduces the risk of falling as one can sit on the edge of the tub transfer bench, and lift their legs over the edge of the tub and place them inside. 

From here, the senior can push off of the seat to slowly adjust her body position and shift sideways until they get into a more central location within the bathtub. Once positioned correctly, a senior can safely shower from a seated position, often with the use of a handheld shower head to reach difficult to clean areas. By leaning back against the bench’s backrest, a senior uses less energy to maintain an upright body posture and helps them to keep their balance for longer periods. 

When finished bathing, seniors complete the transfer in reverse to return to the edge of the tub transfer bench that is located outside of the tub where they can dry and dress themselves from a seated position. Once they are dressed, they can push off of the seat to get into standing to go about their day.


Keep in mind that a tub transfer bench is meant to only be used by someone that wishes to have a shower from a seated position.

Caution: The base of the tub transfer bench has rubber feet and some may suction onto the floor prevent it from moving or sliding during use. For this reason, it is important that the feet rest flat on the bathtub floor rather than the area where the tub curves upwards to form the bathtub wall.

Tub Rail

A tub rail is a piece of equipment that clamps onto the side of a bathtub that can be used to help someone step over the tub edge. While most tub railings can support up to 300 lbs of weight, improper use can loosen it and may place someone at risk of falling. The railing should always be pushed on downwards during a bath transfer.


Installation Tip: This device is not compatible with bathtubs whose edges have a slight curve to them.

Grab Bars

Grab bars are usually installed near the shower faucet to facilitate a transfer in and out of the tub. They can also be placed on the far wall to allow someone to reposition while in the bathtub or hold onto for additional support. Grab bars are often used in conjunction with other assistive equipment such as a bath chair.


Bath Lift

A bath lift is a piece of equipment that rests on top of the bathtub. The platform where one sits can slowly be lowered to the tub floor to have someone submerged in warm water for a soak or to engage in personal hygiene. When ready, the remote control can be operated to lift one out the bathtub to dry off and transfer out of the tub.


This equipment is more expensive, but unlike a bath chair or tub transfer bench, it allows its user to be submerged in the water for a bath.

Summary of bath safety equipment for seniors:

Tub transfer benchCan shower from a seated positionCan be used to transfer into a bathtub shower combo from a seated position
Bath chair with backrestCan shower from a seated position.Cannot be used to assist with bath transfers.
Tub railing or grab barsActs as a transfer aid to help someone step over the bathtub edge to get inside or exit the bathtub.Tub railings should only be pushed down on for support, whereas grab bars can be pulled.
Bath liftMotor lifts and lowers a sitting platform to place someone on the bathtub floor for personal hygiene.

Toilet Equipment to Improve Senior Safety

Some seniors may have challenges with getting up after sitting on the toilet. This difficulty may be related to a chronic illness, deconditioning from a hospital stay or many other factors. In most cases, a transfer aid can help someone stand from a seated position on the toilet. 

These are the common equipment setups used to help seniors with toilet transfers:

Toilet Seat Arms

The other common setup to make toilet transfers easier is to have arms by the toilet. These arms can be bolted to the toilet bowl itself by using the same securement point as the toilet seat. Alternatively, a stand alone toilet safety frame with a wide base that surrounds the toilet bowl can be used. Whichever device is obtained, they both function by allowing someone to push themselves off the handles to get into standing.


Grab Bars

Grab bars near the toilet are pulled on to help someone get into standing, however in some cases a grab bar that is placed low enough can be used to push oneself into standing. Grab bars can also be used to adjust one’s body position sideways while seated on the toilet. 

That said, grab bars tend to be expensive to install because they must be secured into wall studs, otherwise there is a risk of ripping the grab bar out of the wall and falling with it in your hand.

Floor to Ceiling Security Pole

Alternatively, if one has a good ability to pull, a security pole can be placed near the toilet to help with transfers. This transfer aid must be placed within grasping reach from the toilet and is secured by tension between the floor and the bathroom ceiling. 


When mounted correctly, this device can be pulled on to support one’s weight as someone uses their upper body strength to rise from the toilet. The floor plate does take up some space, so it is important to be mindful of where the pole is located to not interfere with walking or the use of a mobility aid.

Increasing The Toilet Seat Height

Another method to help seniors with toilet transfer is to raise the overall height of the toilet itself. In most cases, sitting on a higher toilet seat makes it easier for a senior to get up because one is already partially standing a little bit taller. 


There are three ways to raise the overall height of a toilet seat to improve a senior’s ability to stand up:

Toilet seat riserHeight is added at the base of the toilet.
Raised toilet seatReplaces the existing toilet seat to raise the seat height.
Toilet seat elevatorHeight is added between the toilet seat and toilet bowl.

Caution: The toilet needs to be examined for a secure fit as some models of equipment may not be compatible with all toilet bowls. For example, elongated toilets may not fit with some raised toilet seats.

Summary of toilet safety equipment for seniors:

Stronger ability to push oneself into standingThink about a toilet safety frame or toilet arms
Stronger ability to pull oneself into standingConsider installing grab bars or a floor to ceiling transfer pole
Raise the height of the toilet seat to make standing easierCan achieve this with a: 
Toilet seat riser
Raised toilet seat
Toilet seat elevator

Shower Equipment To Promote Senior Safety

Showering can be a challenging activity for some seniors, especially those that may be experiencing weakness, difficulty with balance or have a history of falls.

These are the most commonly used safety equipment to improve a senior’s safety with showering:

Grab Bars

Grab bars are located in the shower because they allow a senior to use them for support to safely get in and out. These are some ideal spots for grab bars in the shower:

  • Vertical grab bar – placed near the shower faucet, but towards the exterior wall to help a senior with stepping in and out.
  • Horizontal grab bar – underneath the shower faucet to allow a senior to pull themselves up into standing from a seated position on a bath chair
  • Diagonal or L-shaped grab bar – located on the far wall to help with standing or repositioning while in the shower

Bath chair with Backrest

A bath chair with a backrest allows a senior to sit while showering or use it for rest breaks to catch one’s breath. The backrest helps relax tense core muscles, which are normally involved in helping keep one’s torso in the upright position.

Tip: Arm rests can be attached to some bath chairs. These arm rests can be used to help get into a standing position by pushing down on them to raise one’s body up. However when showering from seated, the arms may interfere with bathing by preventing a hand held shower head from reaching some areas.

Hand held shower head

A hand held shower head is highly recommended because it can allow a senior to shower while sitting. Most importantly, this equipment can help clean areas that may be hard to reach such as the back, feet and genitals.


Tip: Many of these shower heads also have adjustable shower spray patterns and intensities, which can provide a slight massaging effect. 

Summary of shower safety equipment for seniors:

Grab bars Used to help with stepping in and out of the shower and for support when standing.
Bath chair with backrestCan have period rest breaks or shower from seated.
Hand held shower headUseful accessory for those showering from seated. Can help clean difficult to reach areas.

Sink Equipment for Increasing Senior Safety

Perching stool

A perching stool is a useful assistant aid that can help someone sit near the sink to wash their face or hands, apply make up, shave, brush their teeth or complete other personal hygiene tasks. 


In comparison to most bath chairs, a perching stool’s seat is higher and can put someone at the right height to use the sink easily. The equipment’s main features include height adjustable legs with a tall seating surface, armrests and a small backrest. Here is how these features can be helpful:

  • Backrest – Allows someone to sit against the backrest to help maintain balance.
  • Armrests – Can be used to push oneself into standing if transfers are difficult.
  • Height adjustable legs – Using the push pins, the seat height can be adjusted higher or lower to support personal daily living tasks on surfaces with differing heights. Examples include the sink, table or a tall counter space.
  • Rubber feet – Prevents slipping and sliding on floors.

Rollator walker

Instead of a perching stool, some seniors use their rollator walkers to sit by the bathroom sink to complete their personal hygiene. 

While many rollators come with a built-in seat, the seat is usually fixed to a certain height. This makes the seat on a rollator less than ideal as it may not match the height of the counter space or sink. For instance, if the counter is higher and not within reach, sitting may make it harder to wash your hands at the sink.

It is important to note that using a rollator walker requires one to be cautious of the space they take up as maneuvering this device safely requires ample space. As well, proper transferring technique needs to be used to ensure one’s safety. For instance, the walker’s brakes should be put into a locked state to prevent the device from rolling away while sitting down or standing up.