As your mobility declines, seemingly simple activities, such as climbing into the bathtub, can be incredibly dangerous. You run the risk of tripping over the edge or slipping on the slick surface, and even if you avoid the risks and clamber inside, the hard work isn’t over. You’ll still have to strain to get out again afterwards.
Transfer benches can help with this routine. They provide seniors and disabled individuals with an affordable and safe way to get in and out of the bath and shower. As a result, we’ve highlighted the best transfer benches for the bath and shower to help you make the right decision when you buy.
What to Look for in a Transfer Bench
A transfer bench helps an individual get in and out of their bathtub, allowing them to bathe or shower without the usual struggle and without the risk of harm. It’s a large frame that stretches over the bathtub and features a large bench or sliding chair that sticks outside of the tub. The user simply needs to sit on the bench, slide along, and they’ll be in the tub!
A good bench should have the following features:
- Non-Slip: As standard, the bench should have non-slip features installed, including rubber tips and mats, preventing the bench and the user from slipping.
- Adjustable: The bench needs to be adjustable to meet the needs of the user, including removable backrests and height adjusters.
- Backrest: A backrest is key if you have back problems or need some extra stability. They are not available on all bath and shower transfer benches, however.
- Sturdy Build: Is the bench strong enough to hold your weight? Are you within the weight capacity limits, and does it use a strong and durable material that will last for years to come?
- Drainage Holes: Some benches are universal and are not necessarily designed for use in the bathtub. As a result, they may not have the drainage holes needed to ensure the user is not sitting in a pool of water and that the water doesn’t get all over the floor.
The Best Shoulder and Bath Transfer Benches
We looked at several different transfer benches for your bathtub and have highlighted the best ones below. These benches are strong, sturdy, durable, and adjustable; they could be just what you need for your daily hygiene rituals.
Drive Medical Heavy Duty Transfer Bench
A simple, affordable bench from one of the industry’s best manufacturers. This Drive Medical bench can withstand up to 500 pounds and is built to last. It’s strong, sturdy, and designed to suit any bathtub. It’s also firm and non-slip, so you feel like you’re strapped into something sturdy, which is very important.
Available for less than $100, it’s one of the cheaper options on this list, but it’s also one of the simplest. It’s wide, has a supportive handrail, and includes a firm backrest.
Medline Heavy Duty Transfer Bench
Available for between $100 and $120, this Medline bench is a great alternative to the Drive Medical one mentioned above. It features six legs, instead of four, and it has a backrest and comfortable seat.
The height of the bench can be adjusted slightly, and it can support up to 550 lbs.
OasisSpace Tub Transfer
A very strong, long, and capable transfer bench. It has a non-slip surface, can take up to 500 lbs., and features lots of drainage holes to reduce slipping risks even further. It is ergonomically designed, has suction cup legs, and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the user.
Drive Medical Folding Universal Transfer Bench
This is a transfer seat that sits on rails and can slide along, making it easy to get in and out of the bath. The seat can be adjusted in half-inch increments and it features strong anti-slip feet. It’s a little different from the other transfer benches on this list but it also supports less weight, with a limit of just 300 lbs.
Alternatives to Transfer Benches
Walk-in bathtubs are the pinnacle of bathroom mobility products. With one of these, there’s no need for a transfer seat, as these tubs have a simple doorway and a low lip. So, you can just walk in instead of transferring from a wheelchair.
There is a chair inside and the door clicks shut behind you. Once inside, just fill the bathtub and activate the jets placed at key points on the inside of the tub. These jets are designed to target certain pressure points and provide soothing pain relief.
Walk-in tubs are much deeper than standard bathtubs, so they offer more submersion and provide a feeling of weightlessness. Of course, they’re also more expensive, and if you’re on a tight budget that’s an obstacle you may struggle to overcome.
Other Tips for Keeping the Bathroom Safe
Most accidents occur in the home. You probably knew that already, as it’s a statistic that gets thrown around quite a lot. In fact, when you think about how much time we spend in our homes, it isn’t that surprising.
What might surprise you, however, is that the majority of these occur in the bathroom and seniors are particularly at risk. In fact, estimates suggest that a third of seniors have an accident resulting from a slip or a fall, and 80% of them are in the bathroom.
Furthermore, 36% of all bathroom accidents occur in the elderly and they are significantly more likely to require hospitalization and suffer from serious consequences.
It’s a certifiable death trap, but by making a few simple improvements you can greatly reduce these risks. Transfer seats can be a big help in this department, but you should also look into the following safety precautions:
- Place anti-slip mats on slippery surfaces
- Position grab bars in key areas around the room
- Purchase toilet frames and/or toilet seat raises
- Make sure the door is always unlocked so that care providers can get to you in the event of an emergency
- Don’t run the water too hot, as it may cause dizziness
- Be careful when standing on wet and hard surfaces