Shower Safety: How to Make Your Bathroom More Accessible

Expert review by 
Written by 
Updated June 5, 2024
older woman grabbing a show handle
Key Takeaways

Slipping and falling in the shower is a serious concern. However, there are small and easy steps you can take to make your shower more accessible, like installing a grab bar, laying a slip-proof mat outside your shower door, and ensuring a family member or caregiver is within earshot while you’re showering.

Bathing is essential for maintaining good health (and, depending on your shower routine, stretching your singing muscles).

However, as you age at home, you may begin to feel nervous about slipping in the shower. It’s a valid concern — showers are slippery — but it may be a sign that you need to upgrade your shower to be a little more accessible.

Thankfully, there are several easy, non-intrusive steps you can take to transform your shower into a safer environment. Because here’s the bottom line: you deserve to feel confident in your bathroom (let that sentence lather, rinse, and repeat). A more accessible shower will only increase your sense of independence and wellbeing at home.

Below, we’ve compiled some easy tips for upgrading your shower game. While each tip is helpful on its own, we’d recommend implementing as many as you’re able.

How do you know when it’s time to re-think your shower setup?

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you find yourself delaying or putting off taking a shower? 

  • When you’re taking a shower, are you nervous about slipping or falling over? 

  • Do you feel nervous entering or exiting the shower?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s time to make a change. 

First: things to not do

Before we dive into our tips, let’s take a moment to talk about what not to do if you’re feeling unsafe in your shower: 

  • If you’re feeling unsteady, do not use the shower door, soap dish, or towel rack to support yourself; these items are unstable and are not designed to withstand that type of weight. 

  • Avoid overly hot showers, as they can cause lower blood pressure and increase the risk of fainting. To be clear: we’re not recommending cold showers; instead, aim for something warm and comfortable, but not steamy. 

Things you can try

Have a buddy nearby

It might sound strange, but having someone in the house and within earshot while you shower — someone like a family member or caregiver — is a great routine to get into. Depending on your comfort level, you can even keep the bathroom door open; you just want to make sure whoever is nearby will be able to hear you if you were to slip and need help.

You can approach this very casually: “Hey, I’m going to jump in the shower; can you stay in the next room over in case I need something?”.

Use a shower chair

If your shower size allows it, a shower chair is a great way to reduce the risk of slipping while standing. Plus, it feels — dare we say it — a little luxurious: you just step into the shower, sit down, and relax.

Buy a handheld shower head

A great complement to a shower chair is a handheld shower head, which will allow you to bring the nozzle down to the chair with you. This way, you’re not worrying about, say, balancing on one leg or shuffling around to reach that one spot on your back that’s so hard to hit. With this, you can sit in the chair and pull the nozzle around your body, in any angle or direction.

Install a grab bar

A grab bar is a tried-and-true way to add a little support inside or outside your shower. These are especially helpful if you have a tub/shower hybrid and need to take a high step to enter and exit.

We’d recommend having your bars professionally installed. There are some suction grab bar options available, which require less setup (they just stick to the inside of your shower via a suction cup) but they’re not nearly as stable; it’s worth the extra effort to make sure your bars are securely installed.

Lay a slip-proof mat

Laying a slip-proof mat on the floor of your shower is an easy way to reduce the risk of slipping. We’d also recommend laying a non-stick mat outside your shower for when you step in and out.

Keep a chair near the shower

If space allows, keep a chair next to your shower as an extra means of support as you’re entering and exiting. Or, if your toilet is close to the shower door, keep the seat down so it can be used as a chair.

Use a walker

You can also use a walker inside the shower to control your balance. Note: please ensure that it’s well-made, with the right materials.

Remember: you deserve to feel safe in your shower

The less you have to worry about at home, the more you’ll be able to focus on being you and doing the things you love. Modifying your shower will help maintain your sense of wellbeing and confidence — and that’s something we all deserve.   

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Expert reviewed by


Erika Deutschlander

Erika Deutschlander is a licensed physical therapist and a clinical leader with extensive experience in long-term care. She serves as Vendor Relationships/Credentialing Manager for CareScout.

Written by


Eric Larson

Eric Larson is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s worked on commercial campaigns for brands like Google, Amazon Fashion, and Casper, and his independent films have screened at renowned festivals in New York City, Los Angeles, London, and Paris.

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