Top 5 Tips to Choosing Bath Lifts for the ElderlySeptember 19, 2014
Bath lifts can provide additional support for elderly people who have difficulty getting in and out. They can help them to maintain their independence and sense of dignity, whilst ensuring that they remain safe whilst bathing. There are a wide range of models on the market and it’s important to ensure you find the right one to suit the individual’s specific requirements.
The Benefits of a Bath Lift
A bath lift works by slowly lowering the user into the bath and then raising them again when they’ve finished. The user can sit on the seat and then be lowered once the bath is full. It reduces the number of accidents that occur due to slips and falls and allows them to bathe in privacy.
Movement of the Lift
Lifts can be operated by one of two ways: either through air pressure or a motor. Both methods have their advantages, but some people might be better suited to one than the other. Motorised lifts are generally a better option if the user has problems with balance, as they provide a steady movement. Air pressure ones, on the other hand, can get to the bottom of a bath and enable a user to have more of their body under the water.
Amount of Support
There are different types of seats available on bath lifts and the one you require will largely depend on the degree of support that is required. You can choose a lift with a full seat that has a backrest and a contoured unit. These provide a more comfortable option and give more support to stop them slipping when in the water. If the user doesn’t require as much support, you can opt for a simple bench or ledge. These enable you to use more of the bath and don’t take up as much room.
When you’re choosing a bath lift you also need to think about anyone else who will be using the facilities. If there are other family members, you don’t want something too permanent or they won’t be able to get into the bath. There are models on the market that can easily be removed or stowed away when not in use.
Operating the Lift
The bath lift should be simple to use, especially for an elderly person. Most come with large and easy to operate buttons, which are crucial if the user also suffers from arthritis or has poor sight. Some models feature a separate hand control unit, so they won’t have to reach out to operate the lift. These will float in the water if they are dropped, reducing the likelihood of accidents occurring.
The safety of bath lifts is extremely important, particularly if an elderly person is operating them by themselves. Most motorised models come with audible alarms and visual indicators to show when the batteries are low. They also won’t operate if the charge isn’t adequate enough to both lower and raise the lift.
As well as these five main areas, when choosing a bath lift you should also see if the units are washable and whether they include non-slip matting. You need to ensure that the bath can accommodate the size of the lift, allowing space for the user as well. Once installed, a bath lift can provide elderly people with the freedom to bath whenever they want to, without the fear of having an accident.