How to make your bathroom safe for your elderly loved ones

1 December 2016

Bathroom Safety

A large percentage of serious accidents and falls suffered by the elderly occur in bathrooms. Whether your aged loved one is living with you, or just visiting, there are many inexpensive and temporary modifications you can make to ensure a safer bathroom area.

By doing our best to keep our seniors safe, comfortable and confident during their aging processes, we keep them around longer. They’ll continue to enjoy trips and visits with the family and get the most enjoyment out of their golden years through maintaining their independence. 


Assess your bathroom

Ensure there is adequate lighting and the switches are easily accessible. Leave a light on in the hallway to assist guests navigating to the bathroom at night. Make sure your bathroom and toilet doors can be unlocked from the outside so you can gain easy access if needed.

Remove any floor scatter rugs or mats that may slip or pose a trip hazard. They can be replaced with specialty mats with high visibility, low profile and non-slip rubber backing such as the Inco Mat; a preferred choice for many hospitals.
Avoid any unnecessary ornaments, pot plants waste baskets or laundry hampers that may restrict movement or obstruct. Check your hot and cold taps are clearly identifiable.

Make sure toilet roll holders are within easy reach of the toilet and perform an overall stability audit, tightening any loose screws on door knobs, handles and rails.


Assess your loved one

Have a candid conversation with your loved one to gain an understanding of their limitations and potential risk. Help them feel comfortable with the modifications by getting them involved in the process.

Those who have difficulty walking or suffer a reduced range of motion, dizzy spells and balance issues are likely to struggle using a standard toilet or shower tub. A raised toilet seat or over toilet frame can make an incredible difference in ease of use, comfort and safety. If you’re not sure of the correct height suitable for your loved one, consider a height adjustable model that can be adapted accordingly.

Install grab bars and grab rails on obvious areas such as the side of the tub, shower wall and toilet wall; but also pay attention to any areas where your loved one may be tempted to use a towel rail or other unreliable item for support. There are many removable clip-on rails available in various sizes, perfect for temporary modification solutions.

The shower area is particularly dangerous for our elderly. Rubber suction mats in the base of the shower can offer assistance. Hand-held shower heads attach easily to existing shower arms or via a diverter valve. Your loved one may find a bath or shower seat a necessity. There are foldaway portable models and adjustable units that can be tailored to suit. 


Consult the Experts

Aging is inevitable; let’s say it’s a growing trend! As such there are always innovative new products coming onto the market to address the many symptoms of aging. Some larger or more costly mobility aids may be suitable for hire rather than purchase. In many cases your loved ones may be more comfortable discussing their concerns and mobility issues with doctors or third parties rather than those closest to them. Consult the experts at Access Rehabilitation Equipment for advice about making your bathroom and your home safe for your aging loved ones.

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