At Home Care Assistance of Toronto, the safety of our clients is of the utmost importance, which is why we wanted to share a few bathroom safety tips for senior adults! Although often overlooked, bathrooms present special challenges for the elderly as surfaces tend to be slick, and the constant presence of moisture increases the risk for falls and other injuries. Furthermore, those with mobility problems, arthritis or other age related conditions may find it more difficult to maneuver in and out of the shower or bathtub.
Wondering what you or an aging loved one can do to enhance safety in the bathroom? Check out these convenient and simple bathroom safety tips and changes:
- Walk-In Tubs. Popular among seniors, these tubs can actually be walked into. A watertight door shuts behind the senior and they can use a built-in seat while the water runs. This helps prevent falls from climbing over the wall of the tub and reduces the risk for slips while bathing. Adding a walk in tub does however result in construction, so if you are not able to commit to such a project, take a look at the various shower seats available. The seats are sturdy and can be placed in the shower, again increasing safety while bathing.
- Grab Bars. One of the easiest ways to help enhance safety and security in the bathroom is by installing grab bars. A horizontal bar should be installed about three feet above the bottom of the tub and another should be installed vertically near the fixtures. They should both be at least two feet long for maximum assistance. Two other grab bars should be installed on the side wall of the shower stall and a smaller grab bar should be installed at the back wall of the shower stall. The placement of these shower bars will aid in getting in and out of the tub or shower, no matter what position the senior is in.
- Faucets. For seniors, the best type of faucets is one that uses levers instead of knobs. This makes it easier for seniors to operate as they have to pull, as opposed to gripping and turning, a motion that becomes more difficult with age. There are also specialty facets and valves that are designed to reduce the risk of scalding, not allowing the water to go above a certain temperature, especially important for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Flooring. There shouldn’t be any changes in floor level between the hallway or the bedroom and the bathroom. If there is a change, consider putting down non-slip mats, which should also be placed outside of the shower and in front of the sink. This will provide a more stable surface for senior adults to walk on.
- Lighting and electricity. Ample lighting is important in the bathroom and a nightlight should be plugged in to help guide the senior to the bathroom during the evenings or in the middle of the night. The easier it is for seniors to see what is around them, the less likely they are to suffer from an accident. Safety plugs should also be placed in outlets and any electronic equipment should be tucked away in drawers or cabinets, away from running water.
If you or an aging loved one may need additional assistance with personal care such as bathing, dressing, grooming or incontinence, contact us today. Our compassionate and skilled caregivers always treat their clients with the utmost dignity and respect and can assist with any care needs, ensuring safety and comfort at all times. Call 416-488-8777 and schedule a complimentary home care consultation with a Care Manager today.