A common question heard every day by caregivers all over the world is “how do I shower?” It can be hard to find new ways to do daily tasks once you start using a walker, whether you’ve had a non-weight bearing injury, have arthritis, or your bones and muscles don’t support you as well as they used to.
I promise it’s a lot easier than you think! In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to get into the shower using a walker. Follow these steps to avoid injury or pain while you keep yourself clean.
Quick guide to take a shower with a walker, the shower transfer:
- Place a Bench or Chair in the Shower
- Back into the Bench Until the Backs of your Legs Touch it
- Sit Down onto the Bench, Supporting Yourself with your Arms
- Push the Walker Away a Few Inches
- Turn to Face the Shower Head
- Bring One Foot Over The Step at a Time
- Center Yourself on the Shower Chair, Turn on and Regulate Water to Wash
- Reverse the Process to Get Out
Place a Bench or Chair in the Shower
To get in and out of the shower, you’ll need something to sit on to hold your weight. Sitting will allow you to transfer into the shower without needing to step too high or balancing on one foot.
If you don’t already have a bench or a chair in your shower or tub, have a friend, family member, or caretaker put one there for you so that you can shower safely. I’m sure they’ll be happy to do what it takes to keep you safe.
Click the Amazon link to get the most up to date price on this beautiful Teak Shower Bench and this plastic bench with handle.
Here is another shower chair from Medical Supply Depot here
Back into the Bench Until the Backs of your Legs Touch it
After you’ve entered the bathroom, use your walker to scoot over to the bench. Turn yourself around, so that your back is turned with the bench directly behind you.
Slowly step back until you feel the bench behind you.
Sit Down onto the Bench, Supporting Yourself with your Arms
Reach back with one arm to grab the bench. Support yourself as you begin to sit down. Reach back with the other hand to support yourself as you lower down.
It’s important to let go of the walker in this step, because it won’t support you as you sit down backwards. Be sure to have a firm hold on the shower bench before shifting your weight onto it.
Push the Walker Away a Few Inches
You’ll want to push the walker away a few inches so that it’s out of your way while you finish getting into the shower.
Don’t push it too far, as you’ll need it again to get out of the shower.
Turn to Face the Shower Head
Now that you’re sitting on the shower bench or chair, all you have to do is turn to finish getting into the shower. Be careful, though, and follow these next few steps.
Bring One Foot Over The Step at a Time
This is very important – make sure to slowly, carefully step your feet into the shower, one at a time. You can use your hands and the chair to help you balance while you do this.
Center Yourself on the Shower Chair, Turn on and Regulate Water to Wash
Now that both of your feet are in the shower and you’re sitting on the chair, you’re almost ready to shower. All you have to do is center yourself on the chair, using your hands and arms to support you.
At this point, you’re ready to take your shower. Later in this article, I’ll give you some useful tips for how to clean yourself most effectively when showering or bathing in a chair.
Reverse the Process to Get Out
Now that you’ve finished showering, you’ll reverse the process to get out and back standing with your walker.
First, move over in the chair so that your feet are close to the shower step. Bring one foot over the step at a time, using your hands and arms to balance. Turn 90° so that you’re facing the room, and pull your walker back directly in front of you. Using the shower chair to support you, slowly stand up and take the walker.
Now you’re all clean and ready to get back to the day!
Tips for Showering Safely, Comfortably, and Effectively Using a Shower Chair
People use shower chairs for a number of reasons, whether they have an injury, arthritis, or their muscles and bones can’t bear as much weight as they used to. You can plan the layout of your shower to adjust for these so that you still can take safe, comfortable showers that effectively clean you up.
Here are a few tips for showering in a shower chair:
- Use a non-slip mat. You don’t want to be moving around in there, and if the shower’s floor is slippery, it is a potential hazard. Adjust for this by putting a non-slip mat in your shower.
- Handheld shower head. Especially if you’re sitting, I’d recommend getting a handheld shower head so that you can rinse and clean any hard-to-reach areas like your back, waist, and the backs of your legs.
- Install a grab bar. A grab bar can be installed and used to help you enter and exit the shower. The steps to entering a shower with a grab bar are a little different, so I’ll come back to them in a minute.
- Automatic dispensers. Instead of having to reach for bottles of shampoo and soap in faraway places, you can conveniently install an automatic dispenser. Simply reach forward and press to get all the shampoo you need.
- Use a bath brush or loofah with a long handle. Like the handheld shower head, having a long-handled loofah or brush will help you reach and clean hard to reach areas.
- Bathe with a caretaker or friend nearby. To ensure your safety, make sure that someone else is around in case you slip in the bathroom. If you don’t mind a little less privacy, you can ask for their help in and out of the shower too. There are plenty of ways to do this with a towel on, so don’t worry about exposing yourself.
- Take your time. The most important advice is to always take your time. There’s no rush in or out of the shower. To do it safely, take as long as you need.
How to Enter a Shower Using a Grab Bar
I mentioned above that a grab bar can be installed to make entering and exiting the shower a little easier for you. To use a grab bar to get in and out of the shower, you’ll follow a slightly different procedure than before. You’ll still need a shower chair in the shower. I have an article on how safe suction grab bars are here.
If you’re using a grab bar, walk up to the shower, facing the showerhead this time, with the wall directly in front of you.
Turn your walker 90° so that it boxes you into the shower. Use one hand to grab the shower bar to support you, and step one foot into the shower. Move the foot over a little bit to make room for the other foot. With both hands on the shower bar, step the other foot into the shower.
Now that both feet are in the shower, gently sit down onto the shower chair, with one hand on the grab bar and one hand on the chair.
To get out of the shower, simply reverse the process. Begin by standing in the shower. Scoot over towards the shower step. Supporting yourself with the grab bar, step one foot out at a time. Bring your walker back in front of you, and you’re good to go!
There’s nothing to fear about showering with a walker. Follow the right steps to make sure that you get in and out so that you can shower safely, comfortably, and effectively. If you have any other questions or need any additional assistance, feel free to ask a friend or caretaker. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you. Be safe!