Bathrooms are generally not safe places and often present a danger to senior citizens. The combination of water and tile or linoleum flooring can leave seniors vulnerable to injuries at home. However, by making some inexpensive additions and modifications to your home, you can make the bathroom safer for the seniors in your household.
Falls are common when senior citizens get out from the shower or tub. In order to prevent these injuries, you can install non-slip mats instead of small throw rugs in key places of your bathroom. Right outside the exit of the shower, in front of the sink, and by the toilet are key areas where there is a potential to fall. You can increase security by adding non-slip decals to the floor of your shower or the bathtub.
Most seniors with balance or movement difficulty use towel bars and other unreliable structures to get themselves out of the shower or tub, or even raising themselves from the toilet. However, these structures are not meant to support much weight. Grab bars are a better and safer option for seniors with healthy upper body strength. They must be slip-resistant and preferably bolted on to the wall for greater support.
Using a shower chair or bath chair helps to increase safety by decreasing the chance of you falling by providing a secure area in a slippery shower or bath. Shower Chairs and Bath chairs are especially useful for those that are in wheelchairs, the elderly or anyone who finds excessive movement painful or difficult. Replacing a standard shower head with a hand-held makes it easier to wash hair while seated.
Due to a lack of leg or arm strength, as well as balance issues, seniors have difficulty lowering themselves and rising after using the toilet. The addition of a raised toilet seat, which usually increases the height by around three or four inches, reduces the distance that the senior must reach, and decreases the amount of exertion he or she must make during the process. Raised seats that include grip bars act as an additional safety measure.
Place Items Within Reach
One simple modification to your current bathroom layout that can assist your senior citizen is simply placing important items within the person’s reach. This way, you can prevent them from getting into a dangerous situation in the first place. If you can, install a shower caddy to keep their bottles and items within a single, convenient place. Also, consider a bottle dispenser along the shower wall so they can use their shampoos and soaps without the risk a bottle slipping, which they’d have to pick up, risking a fall.
Prevent further slip and fall incidents by providing proper lighting to both the path to the bathroom and inside as well. Create a path with nightlights that can lead them to the bathroom. Having a well-lit bathroom also goes a long way.
One of the safest things you can do to reduce injuries is to monitor and assist in the bathroom, particularly while they shower. Having a family member or professional caregiver in the bathroom tidying, or providing bathing assistance, reduces the chance of injury and provides someone who can respond to problems should they occur.
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