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Roughly one-third of all adults over the age of 65 experience an accidental fall each year, and a significant percentage of these people may suffer from a moderate to severe injury as a result. If you have limited mobility due to age or a medical condition or care for someone who does, making changes to your home environment can help to decrease your risk of falls. Transfer benches are one simple way to increase safety in the bathroom.
Many fall accidents occur in the tub area of the bathroom. The combination of having to lift one's leg to step into and out of the tub, change positions to sit and stand and maintain one's balance when the floor is slippery makes bath or shower time wrought with hazards. Transfer benches can help to protect you or the person for whom you care from these dangers. A transfer bench is a freestanding seat that fits over the edge of the tub. Once it is safely in place, the transfer bench allows a person with limited mobility to simply slide across its surface to get into the tub. This eliminates the need for stepping over the tub's side and decreases the chances of falling. Some transfer benches are even designed to double as a bath seat or chair, so that the user never has to move to sit down in the tub.
There are two main styles of transfer benches. The first type is just a simple bench with a stationary seat, while the second has a fixed frame and a sliding seat. Typically, sliding seat transfer benches are larger in size, making them less ideal for small bathrooms where conditions are cramped. Stationary transfer benches come in many different sizes to suit various needs. Some stationary benches have a hole on the end of the bench that sits over the bathtub. This type can be used as a commode for a person with trouble reaching the toilet when they need to relieve themselves. It can also be used as a bath seat for an individual who cannot stand independently or otherwise safely sit down in the tub. Many transfer benches have a grab bar on one end to help the user move from the bench to the tub and then back again after bathing.
When you're considering which type of transfer bench is right for your needs, you'll first need to think about the style and shape of your tub and the size of the bathroom. Not all transfer benches will work with all tub styles, and you need to make sure that the transfer bench is not so large that it causes a safety hazard in the tub area. Transfer benches also have weight limits to which you must adhere, and bariatric styles are available for people who require additional support. If you're uncertain what features would be the best, consult a health care provider for advice.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.