Feb 042011

In Part 1 of this series , we considered 4 features of bariatric shower benches: weight capacity, construction, materials, and dimensions. In this part, we’ll look at 5 other important features of these shower seats: seat height, legs, backs and arms, fit in shower or tub, and cost.

Remember, bariatric shower chairs are made to help people who weigh over 250 pounds feel safe and comfortable when sitting in a shower.

Seat height: This measurement can be important, especially if you are tall. You want your feet to rest comfortably on the shower floor when you are sitting in your seat. Otherwise you may be off balance. While sitting in a comfortable chair, measure the dimension from the floor to where your bottom is on the chair. This is usually from 14 to 19 inches. Some shower chairs have seats that are adjustable. Make sure the seat can adjust to the height you need.
Drive Deluxe Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench with Backrest

Legs: You don’t want your shower chair slipping around in the shower. Make sure that the legs have rubber tips or suction cups on them to hold the chair in place when you’re using it in the shower.

Backs and arms: Some models are available with backs and some come with backs and arms. People find that having a back or back and arms provides added support, especially if you are overweight. The back prevents you from leaning too far back in the seat and the arms can help you get into and out of the chair. Attached arms can limit the width of the seat, so if you do want arms, make sure the width of the chair will still accommodate your body. Medline Bariatric Bath Bench without Back

Fitting in shower or bathtub: These bariatric shower chairs are designed for use in a shower. But remember that they will take up space in your shower. So check the chair dimensions against the dimensions of your shower so you know you’ll have enough space left to get in and out of the shower. Also, if you are going to use these chairs in a bathtub, check its size, as bathtubs are often smaller than showers. What’s more, some tubs are curved on the bottom, making it difficult for the shower chair legs to stay flat. Some people find that they have to turn the chair sideways to use it in their tub, which can decrease your stability when sitting on the seat.

Cost: You will probably pay a little more for a shower seat with bariatric support. But it is well worth it for the comfort and safety. Also, chairs with backs and arms will also cost more. You can find these chairs on Amazon and in local pharmacies or large chain stores. Prices can vary a lot, so be sure you are comparing similar models with similar dimensions and features.

NOTE: Some overweight people use wheelchairs. For you, bariatric transfer benches are available. These transfer benches are long seats that provide extra support legs in the middle. You can then more easily move from your wheelchair to sit in your shower.