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Taking a shower

Taking A Shower Panel

Showering is a daily routine essential for hygiene and well-being. However, for older adults living independently, navigating a shower can present safety concerns due to slippery surfaces, limited mobility, and potential difficulty reaching necessary items. 

Common scenarios and concernsLifestyle and equipment options to help you

Falls: Slippery surfaces, poor balance, and limited mobility can increase fall risk in the shower.

This can lead to injuries like fractures and reduced confidence.

Shower modifications: Install grab bars, a shower chair, and a non-slip bath mat. 

Maintain balance: Use shower benches or grab bars for support. 

Mindful movements: Take your time and avoid rushing.

Difficulty reaching: Reaching for shampoo, soap, or washcloths can be challenging with limited mobility.

This can lead to frustration and dependence on others. 

Shower caddies: Install wall-mounted caddies within easy reach. 

Long-handled tools: Utilise long-handled bath sponges or loofahs.

Temperature control: Difficulty adjusting the water temperature can lead to burns or discomfort.

This can lead to skin irritation or scalding.

Thermostatic shower mixer: Install a shower mixer with thermostatic control for a consistent temperature. 

Temperature checks: Use a bath thermometer to check the temperature of the water before entering.

 

Common challenges encountered when showering

  • Falls: The combination of wet surfaces, soap scum, and limited mobility can significantly increase the risk of falls in the shower. This can lead to serious injuries like fractures, impacting mobility and independence.
  • Difficulty reaching: Individuals with limited hand and arm mobility may struggle to reach for shampoo, soap, washcloths, or other bathing essentials placed on shelves or outside the immediate shower area, leading to frustration and potentially requiring assistance.
  • Temperature control: Difficulty adjusting the water temperature can lead to discomfort or even scalding injuries. This can be particularly concerning for individuals with reduced sensation or limited dexterity.

Creating a safe and accessible shower environment

  • Install grab bars: Strategically placed grab bars inside and outside the shower stall can provide essential support and stability when entering, exiting, and manoeuvring within the shower.
  • Invest in a shower chair: A sturdy shower chair with a non-slip base offers a stable seating option, allowing you to shower safely and comfortably while minimising fatigue.
  • Apply non-slip surfaces: Opt for a non-slip bath mat inside the shower to minimise the risk of slipping and falling. Consider applying non-slip strips or decals to the shower floor for additional traction.

Additional tips for safe showering

  • Maintain good balance: Take your time and avoid rushing through your shower routine. Use grab bars for support when entering, standing, or changing positions.
  • Mindful movements: Be cautious when transitioning from sitting to standing, and utilise grab bars for additional support.
  • Temperature control: Install a thermostatic shower mixer to maintain a consistent and safe water temperature. Before entering the shower, use a bath thermometer to check the water temperature and adjust if necessary.

Equipment and aids to help you take a shower

  • Wall-mounted shower caddies: Install secure, easy-to-reach caddies within arm's length to store shampoo, soap, and other bathing essentials.
  • Long-handled tools: Utilise long-handled bath sponges or loofahs to assist with washing hard-to-reach areas.
  • Consider a handheld showerhead: A handheld showerhead provides greater control and flexibility, allowing you to easily direct the water flow to different areas of your body.

Where to buy equipment and technology to help you take a shower

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.

 


 

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