What is a Shower Chair?
A shower chair is a seat made for bathtubs or showers. These seats are designed for use by people who are unable to stand to take a shower and must sit instead. With the use of shower chairs, elderly people and those with mobility problems are able to have some independence by bathing themselves or having help doing so. Some shower chair products are designed for both stall and tub types of showers, while others aren't. Although all shower chairs have a seat with metal legs, there are many different variations available.
Most styles of shower chairs are made of plastic, but some fancier kinds feature teak wood seats. Teak is known for its ability to stand up well to moist environments; many wood bathroom accessories are made of it. Shower chair legs are metal and most are adjustable in height. The rubber feet usually have suction cups on the bottoms for better adhesion to the shower stall floor or bath tub.
The plastic seat of most shower chairs has handle grip openings on each side. A shower chair with a back is also likely to feature a handle grip opening on the top of the backrest. Shower chairs are available with or without backrests. The seat of many shower chairs has large holes to allow water to drain down rather than build up on the seat. Some shower chair seats are padded, but most aren’t.
A shower chair is usually sold unassembled, but is easy to assemble. Many shower chairs don’t require extra tools such as screwdrivers, but have screws that just need tightening by hand. While most shower chairs fit both bathtub and stall types of showers, it’s important to read the label before purchasing a chair. Shower chairs should only be installed according to the product label instructions. A shower chair must be sturdy and used as directed on the packaging so that safety isn’t compromised.
The maximum weight safely held by most shower chairs is 300 lbs. (136 kg). Shower chair legs are often made of non-rusting aluminum. Aluminum is a lightweight, yet sturdy metal. Mobile shower chairs are made to take along when traveling; they usually can be folded to reduce their size. Shower stools are round with no back and often have the same legs as other chairs made for showers.
When my dad had a stroke, the physical therapist at the rehabilitation center told me I'd need to install a shower chair before he was released. The one I got from the medical supply store was more of a bench. One end hung out over the bathtub, and he was supposed to slide over to the other side to take a shower. The problem was, the bench made it impossible to pull the shower curtain closed, so water was getting everywhere.
I went to another medical supply store and they had an actual shower bath chair. It fit precisely inside the tub, so I could pull the curtain all the way. He was mobile enough to step into the tub and sit in the shower chair seat, though. I don't know if a chair like that would be ideal for people with no strength in their legs. The original bath bench seemed better for that sort of situation.
My mother-in-law currently uses a plastic lawn chair as a shower chair, but I'm seriously considering getting her an actual padded shower chair. It would probably be much sturdier than what she's using now. She has to have someone help her in and out of the lawn seat, and I don't think it drains as well as a real shower chair.
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