Every year, so many of our older friends and relatives suffer from fall-related injuries which can be fatal if the necessary support structure is not available. While we must encourage them to take care while walking on slippery surfaces or wet surfaces like in the bathroom, it is our responsibility to design a bathroom which can be safe as well as user-friendly for the elderly.
Top 10 Ways to Make Bathroom Safer for Elderly
If your existing bathroom is not designed specifically keeping elderly in mind, do not fret. Here are ten simple yet effective tips to make bathrooms safer for elders to help reduce fall-related accidents:
Install a Shower Grab Bar in the Bathroom
One of the safest ways to ensure that the person using the shower area has something to hold in case they slip is to install a grab bar in the area. These bars also help the elderly to regain balance after getting up from the bathtub or the toilet.
Make sure that the grab bar you install is fitted correctly and is able to support the weight. This is an inexpensive way to safeguard your bathroom against fall-related injuries.
Place a Non-Slip Mat on the Floor of the Shower Area and the Tub
These mats not only prevent the person using the shower from slipping while taking a bath but also reduce the accumulation of water and soap on the floor. Choose a good-quality mat which is slip-resistant and provides a good grip to the feet.
You can keep this mat wherever you feel that the chances of slippage are high. Do not place a towel which can slide on the floor and increase the chances of a fall.
Get a Walk-In Shower Tub
This might be a big investment but can help the elderly use the bathtub much more easily and without any risk of a fall injury. These tubs have a door on the side to help the person using the tub to enter without having to climb over the side.
Elder people lose balance quickly and the high tub wall can become a task to climb in and out. These walk-in bathtubs are a great way to assist the elderly in enjoying a good bath without overexerting themselves.
Keep a Shower Chair in the Area and Install a Handheld Shower Head
A great way to help the elders enjoy a good long shower without them having to balance themselves and stand for long periods is to keep a shower chair inside the tub or in the shower area. This chair comes with rubber ends to avoid any slippage.
Another change you should make is to install handheld shower heads in addition to an overhead shower head. These handheld shower heads can be used easily and allow the elders to shower with control.
Make Sure That the Lighting in the Bathroom is Proper
Improper or poor lighting in the bathroom makes it difficult for elders with weak eyesight to navigate their way easily in the bathroom. Ensure that the bathroom is well-lit and there is a good night light to help them see during the night when they wake up to use the bathroom.
Another important tip is to install small lights on the path to the bathroom also to help elders reach the bathroom safely.
Keep All the Bath Essentials in Appropriate Bottles and Within Reach
Do not keep bath products in slippery bottles or heavy containers which can slip from the hand and cause injuries. Install a shower caddy within the reach in the bathroom and keep products in dispenser bottles so that they can be taken out easily without having to lift the bottle.
Do not get shower caddies which come with suction cups to attach them to the wall. Go for caddies which can be mounted on the wall.
Change the Faucets and Fittings Which are Difficult to Operate
Some faucets and bathroom fittings can be difficult to open and close for people who suffer from arthritis and cannot grip objects tightly. Install bathroom fittings that are easy to operate so that the users do not have to put a lot of pressure to open them and risk losing their balance. You can check for these fittings in any local store or get them from a specialised store which keeps such fittings.
Substitute Normal Toilet Seats With Raised Toilets
Low toilet seats can be a major fall hazard for elders who find it difficult to lower their body or lift it up without support.
You can either go for seat risers that can be fitted on your existing toilet bowl or buy a specially designed raised toilet bowl to make it easier for elders to sit on the toilet easily without having to lower themselves significantly.
Keep the Temperature of the Water Comfortable
Adjust the thermostat settings of your water heater to keep the temperature of the water comfortable enough for the thin skin of elders. This is to reduce the risk of scalding and hot burns due to hot water. Also, keep the faucets labelled to help reduce confusion and accidents.
Remove Obstacles Which Can Lead to Tripping
Declutter the bathroom to remove all the non-essential items that can be tripping hazards. Removing these obstacles will help the elders to move around more freely without having to constantly keep an eye on the floor. Keep buckets and other items in their designated place to avoid falls.
So these are ten ways in which you can make your bathroom a lot safer for the elders in your house so that they can use the bathroom safely without the risk of any major accidents and injuries. Most of these tips are inexpensive and can be implemented so easily in existing bathrooms too.
Some of them do not even require any change to your existing bathroom layout or plumbing. We hope you enjoyed reading these tips and will use them to make the bathroom a safer place for the elders.
Author Bio (Marina G):
I am working as the Sr. Writer for ShowerFanatics.com, a mother of a 9-year-old boy working as a full-time writer for the leading editorial publications around the web. I am a home interior enthusiast who loves to share diverse and inspirational ideas on decorating and renovating a home.