Some Tips on Make a Bathroom Safe for Elderly
The aging process creates new challenges for our parents and loved ones to remain capable of managing their daily routines. New physical difficulties can have a direct impact on an older person's ability to use their bathroom. Additionally, the bathrooms that they have been using without issue for decades might not be safe anymore.
In the United States, 235,000 emergency room visits are attributed to bathroom accidents each year. Nearly two-thirds of these injuries occur in or near bathtubs and showers. It is often reported that older adults are most vulnerable in the bathroom. The wet surfaces, rough flooring, and exposed corners make bathrooms a particularly dangerous place for the elderly to fall.
It only takes a few simple changes and a fresh pair of eyes to transform the bathroom into a safe and pleasant place for everyone. Identify potential hazards in the bathroom and take additional safety precautions to prevent accidents among the elderly with these bathroom safety tips below.
Set up Grab Bars in the Shower
Grab bars can save you or your loved one from a life-altering injury, and they are a cost-effective investment for seniors who have difficulty balancing and getting in and out of the bathtub. Many seniors use towel bars to maintain their balance when entering and leaving the shower or bathtub. Nonetheless, these bars are designed for hanging towels to dry, and they are not intended to support heavy loads. The use of them as support in a slippery bathroom can lead to disaster. For older adults who have difficulty maneuvering in or around the shower or tub, grab bars are an excellent and affordable option. Get grab bars installed in easy-to-reach spots so seniors can enter and exit their bathtubs with ease. Grab bars are useful for improving leverage and balance at the toilet as well.
A grab bar comes in many different shapes and sizes, but all versions using suction cups for attachment are to be avoided. Frequently, these come loose and fall from the shower wall, posing a safety hazard. Having grab bars mounted on the wall is more durable and safer. Observe with care where your senior loved one puts his or her hands for balance as they enter or exit the shower before you install it. This is where the new fixtures will go.
Add Raised Toilet Seat
When you get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to lower yourself onto a traditional toilet seat. In most cases, raised toilet seats fit standard US and Canadian toilet sizes and are convenient to install, so they are more cost-effective than having to purchase a new toilet. For users with specific types of disabilities, there are several options to choose from, including basic raised ones, locked ones, or those with assistance handles, flexible height adjustment, and solid frames. For safety reasons, making sure the bathroom has the right one is imperative. A doctor or healthcare provider can help you determine which version your aging loved one needs, depending on their mobility and the size of their room.
Invest in Shower Chair or Bath Bench
The use of a shower chair would be beneficial for seniors who have trouble remaining balanced while on their feet. Elderly residents can utilize shower chairs for safety while showering and for resting afterward. Choose a chair that features rubber tips on the legs, which will guarantee a non-slip grip and keep the chair from sliding.
Having a shower chair or bath chair on hand can add stability in an area that can be quite slippery for older adults. These chairs can be tailored to meet specific needs. For older adults who are still able to use the bathroom independently, simple stools can be excellent choices. Other versions feature an extended side for the support of seniors transferring into the tub. A bathtub transfer bench, for example, is for people who have significant difficulty entering and exiting the shower. It begins at the edge of the bathtub. The seat moves into the shower slowly as you sit on it.
Place Toilet Safety Rails
The purpose of toilet safety rails is to make getting up and down the toilet smoother, safer, and more comfortable. In addition to eliminating falls, they provide stability for seniors with mobility, strength, or balance problems. Safety rails on toilets can also be extremely helpful for the elderly who suffer from vision disabilities or have recently undergone surgical procedures., Depending on their design, toilet safety rails also ease the stress and strain involved with moving from standing to seated positions. They thus can make older people feel more positive, safe, and confident. There are models that attach to the wall or the toilet, while others are free-standing. No matter what, seniors should opt for a safety rail that's durable, sturdy enough to support their body weight, and simple to put in place.
Use Non-Slip Mats
Adding bathroom mats to the bathroom can certainly add a sense of warmth and coziness when seniors are leaving the shower or bath; however, they can also pose a significant danger. Unsecured mats and rugs are very likely to cause slipping, especially when the floor is wet. In order to ensure senior safety, it is best to remove any mats that are not non-slip or haven't been secured to the floor. As an alternative, look for bath mats with a rubberized backing that adheres firmly to the floor. As well as being thinner and less weighty than traditional bath mats, they should also guarantee that the edges do not lift up and cause a trip hazard, as well as making it simpler for the elderly to roll over.
Apply Lighting and Door Changes
Lights and doors in the bathroom can also be modified to improve safety. In the bathroom, most of us prefer a subtler light for a softer ambiance, but senior citizens with vision issues have a hard time in dim environments. The insufficient lighting combined with other factors, such as steam, increases the chances of accidents occurring. A lighting setup for seniors should be bright enough for them to see clearly, but not so bright that they are dazzled or blinded, which can trigger dizziness and a loss of stability. Furthermore, it is vital that the path connecting the bedroom and bathroom is well-lit with extra aids such as nightlights.
Along with the lighting, it's important to pay attention to the bathroom door and how it swings open or shut. Are the doors moving into or out of the bathroom? It may be preferable to have the door open outward so that the medical staff and care providers will have convenient access if an old person falls against it.
If you have an elderly relative or friend, it is never too soon to make their bathroom safer. Even if you do not suspect your elderly family member or friend has struggled with balance or has fallen, taking action now can prevent this common but extremely dangerous scenario from occurring.
The tips above have been presented to help avoid bathroom falls and related injuries. With these devices, senior citizens are able to safely access tubs, showers, toilets, and damp floors, allowing them to enhance their independence in the bathroom.