Looking after loved ones can be a daunting task, with juggling their needs and your worries that something might go wrong in your absence. Factor in age and it’s downright challenging, both emotionally and physically. For this reason, modern consumerism has blessed us with a variety of tools and products designed to bear some of the grunt. From baby monitors and motion sensors to emergency response systems and automatic beds. One such product, designed for the difficult task of keeping older family members feeling fresh, is the transfer bench.
Transfer benches are, as the name states, benches that are used to transfer the elderly. In this particular case, inside bathtubs. They consist of two sitting areas, with one side going over the bathtub with its legs inside it, and the other outside, which is used to shift oneself to the side over the tub. Using a transfer bench, a person can sit on the side outside the tub, slide over on to the side over the tub, and enter the bathtub without having to clamber over the wall of the tub, which they might not be able to do because of various health or age-related reasons. These benches allow the elderly to independently bathe whenever they need without having to resort to assistance from others, which is also a relief for the caregivers in the house. The more expensive variants come equipped with luxurious leather padding and arm and backrests to provide an extremely comfortable experience.
Around 2.8 million elders are brought into emergency rooms each year due to injuries from falling, and over 800,000 are hospitalized because of a fall. Most of these hospitalized patients suffer a hip fracture or an injury to the head. This way, not only is falling a major cause of distress for families and relatives but it can also be a financial burden on them. Which is why, a smart investment into a transfer bench may save you a ton of headache down the line.
So now that you’re reasonably educated on the subject, you might have an idea of forming of what kind of product you need. First off, you must measure your bathroom and bathtub before placing an order and make sure to check the dimensions of the bench you’re buying. As transfer benches are hygiene products, they’re classified as non-returnable, so an ill-advised purchase would be money wasted.
Second, you need to know how heavy the user is going to be. After weighing the person, you would need to make sure the particular bench you’re interested in can support that weight, as it varies greatly from model to model. Almost as important as the weight capability, is the length and surface area of the bench and seat respectively. Your loved one would be more partial to the bench if it was a comfortable experience rather than a pain to use.
Another concern would be to evaluate your needs. This mostly depends on how frail the person you’re looking after is. Do they require suction cups on the legs of their bench for improved stability? Do they need a belt to stay on the seat? Do they need a rolling bench or can they manage to scoot over the bench multiple times a day? These are all important factors that need to be carefully taken into consideration before you make your purchase.
Types of transfer benches
There are different kinds of transfer benches available in the market today, and which one you should go for is dependent on your needs and what you’re comfortable with. The types are as follows:
- Non-Sliding Benches: These benches are basic in design, with four legs and a few resting mounts. The user has to slide from one end to the other to get inside the bathtub.
- Sliding Benches: These benches provide easier access to the bathtub, and are recommended for the more dependent demographic. These have rails or some other method of rolling built into them so that instead of the user having to slide over the bench themselves, they can simply sit on one end and roll the bench sideways until they’re inside the bathtub.
- Fixed benches: The benches discussed until now are all freestanding variants, able to be shifted around. Fixed transfer benches, however, are simply mounted to the side of the bathtub and remain fixed there permanently. Though not a huge difference, it does provide one with more stability.
Options for transfer benches
You are also provided with the choice to customize a bench to how you see fit. Mostly though, all the options we’re about to list are found in some model or the other, for there is no shortage of variety when it comes to transfer benches.
- Length: An important one. You will have to be comfortable with the length of a bench before making your purchase. You’ll have to take into consideration the width of your bathtub and the size of the user before deciding on this.
- Suction cups: If you prefer the peace of mind some additional stability brings, you will want a model that has suction cups under the legs that grip the bathtub and prevent the bench from sliding.
- Padded seating: A more luxurious option than the aforementioned two, but a desirable comfort nonetheless. All of us like to take long showers, and providing comfortable seating pads can enable your loved one to do so as well.
- Commode openings: Some benches come with commode openings in their seats, which allow the user to more easily be able to clean themselves.
We’ll provide you with ten of the best transfer benches available on the market right now, some for people shopping on a budget, and others for customers who want the best experience for the person they’re caring for.
Affordable for people that might be constricted by a tight budget.
- Easy and convenient assembly.
- The compact size makes for easy storage.
- Reversible back attachment for compatibility with various bathrooms.
- Adjustable seat height.
- Drainage holes that help minimize water accumulation.
- Lightweight, rust-resistant, durable aluminum frame.
- Mounts to the tub wall and saves space as well as improve stability.
- A sliding seat that makes it easier to enter the bathtub.
- Swivel seat that can rotate 360° and lock every 90° for easy mounting.
- The seat can be locked in place.
- Adjustable height improves user experience and bathroom compatibility.
- The textured finish on the seat and back.
- Leg height adjustable.
- No legs present outside the bathtub.
- No tools required for assembly.
- Suction cups on legs keep bench stable and fixed in position over the bathtub.
- The safety belt ensures the user stays seated and does not slip off.
- An affordable option for people who want a sliding transfer bench.
- Adjustable seat height for comfortable user experience.
- Folds flat and allows for easy storage.
- It comes with a safety belt to strap the user in.
- It comes equipped with a soap dish.
- Has a safety net installed to catch dropped items and not require the user to bend over
- Seat can be locked in place.
- The extra length allows for greater maneuverability and easy mobility over the toilet and bathtub.
- Cut out in seat which allows for easier cleaning.
- Seat can be locked in place.
- Adjustable height enhances user comfort.
- No tools required for assembly.
- Middle support legs can be installed anywhere the person wishes along the rails.
- Wide seat for more comfortable and longer sessions.
- The safety belt ensures the user stays in place.
- An affordable option for those looking for a bench for heavier people.
- Greater stability thanks to improved seating.
- Able to withstand huge amounts of weight, up to 600lbs.
- Back attachment as well as adjustable seat height.
- Durable, rust-resistant, lightweight frame.
So that is about all you need to be aware of before taking the plunge and buying a transfer bench. As you have probably realized, it’s not an easy decision. Make the right choice, and you could be looking at years of comfortable independence for your beloved elder. Be hasty and you might end up causing damage not just to your wallet, but your family member too.