Shower seating

Shower seating

Most older or disabled people like to sit down whilst in the shower. Some only need a platform to perch on; others will need more supportive or contoured seating.

Providing a stable seated position

It is just as important that people have a stable seating base during personal care activities as it is at any other time of the day.

For people with mild to moderate seating difficulties, the right shaped seat should provide sufficient support to allow them to sit up straight without continually sliding forward and allow them to reach their feet to wash.

The shape of the seat

Contoured seats will provide a person with a more stable seating position than a flat seat. These seats tend to have a slightly higher back, are raised at the sides and slope down towards a central aperture. This type aims to be 'human shaped' so that the shape of the buttocks are accommodated, whilst the raised edges provide a certain amount of stability.

Some of the products have a cut-out at the front and a central aperture which allows users to wash themselves more easily.

Padded seats are also available and although they are not dish-shaped or contoured, the padding allows a certain amount of compression under the heavier areas such as the buttocks. This leads to 'shaping' which should provide a certain amount of stability.

Seat height

This plays an important part in achieving a stable seating base because, if users can sit comfortably with their feet supported, they are less likely to slide forwards in the chair. Wall-fixed shower chairs can be fixed at the appropriate height; free-standing chairs and stools may have height adjustable legs. Remember, as people usually don't have shoes on in the shower the measurement will be lower that a standard sitting height of a chair. If there are two people of different heights using the same seat, then a compromise would need to be made. Many mobile chairs have adjustable height footrests to provide additional support.

Backrests

Backrests should support the person in the lower lumbar region. A padded backrest will provide more support and be more comfortable than plastic moulded or tubular backrests. It is possible to get wall fixed backrests which can be used with a folding shower seat.

Armrests

These provide a useful rest and support while the person is seated. They should not, however, be used to help someone stay in the chair. If, without the arm supports, the person would slide or fall, then it will be necessary to look for a supportive system that will provide a more stable seat. It can be helpful (especially on a wall-mounted shower seat) for the arm rests to be fold-up or swing away.

For more information, If you would like further advice regarding using your shower and related products then you could try the using the shower section of AskSARA. AskSARA is the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF)'s free online self assessment tool. AskSARA will ask you questions about yourself and your environment (in this instance your shower) and then offer relevant advice, product suggestions and supplier details.


View AskSARA's showering section.

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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