The bathroom is one of the two most dangerous rooms in the house (the other is the kitchen), and for seniors, they present extra risk. Water that splashes on the floor and nighttime visits to use the facilities can lead to falls, one of the greatest causes of accidental deaths in the US.
How can you make your loved one’s bathroom safer? Follow these 10 tips:
- The floor of the bathroom should have textured or nonskid tile. Smooth tile is hazardous when wet!
- Floor mats can prevent slipping, especially when stepping out of the bath or shower, but they can also be a tripping hazard. Be sure they lie perfectly flat, especially at the corners, before putting them into the bathroom.
- Tubs and showers are especially slippery when wet. Be sure their surfaces have nonskid appliques.
- A shower chair or bench makes it easier for seniors to wash themselves in the shower.
- A handheld showerhead is easier to use than a fixed showerhead.
- Grab bars inside and outside a tub and shower, will allow for easy entrances and exits. Install them near the toilet, as well. Using grab bars instead of towel racks is a smart way to add extra stability undo that security.
Even if your loved one doesn’t need grab bars, they will find it helpful to have something stable to grab onto if they slip.
Moreover, even if they don’t need it now, they may need it in the future. It’s better to install them to prevent a fall, rather than after one.
- Adequate lighting, in the bathroom — and en route to the bathroom — can prevent falls during the nighttime, when a senior might be groggy and less cautious.
- A higher toilet seat is easier to use. Seat extenders are available if changing the toilet is not practical.
- Everything should be within easy reach. Seniors should not have to bend, reach high, or stretch far to reach anything they need.
- Glass containers have no place in a bathroom. However decorative they may be, they can easily be dropped, creating a major hazard. Transfer anything that comes in glass to a plastic container.
Sometimes “age-proofing” the bathroom is not enough. If the senior is not safe at home, it is important to be willing to consider other options, such as Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, to ensure they have a living space that is tailored to their needs. If you or your loved one are starting to feel unsafe at home, don’t wait for something to happen. Call us at 609-588-5800, or by clicking here.