The bathroom can be a dangerous place. It's a place where you're alone. There are hard, slippery surfaces everywhere. And activities often include sitting, standing, and transferring in and out of a slippery tub. For seniors who are already at risk for falling, the bathroom may be the most dangerous room in the home. Luckily, a few bathroom renovations can help prevent falls and make the bathroom a safer place. Here are some tips on renovations and changes to help reduce fall hazards and make the bathroom a more comfortable and accessible place for seniors.
Install a Walk-In Tub or Shower
Another prime opportunity for a trip and fall is stepping over the side of the bathtub. The chances for falling here are often increased because your feet are wet. A walk-in tub makes it less likely you will trip or be off- balance, standing on one wet foot. You can further decrease your fall likelihood by adding traction decals to the bottom of the shower and a rubber-backed bath mat outside the tub.
Invest in a Shower Chair
Many people are caught off-balance when they are shampooing their hair in the shower or when standing for long periods of time in the shower. People who are prone to blood pressure fluctuations and related dizziness may find this increased by the hot water and steam of the shower. A shower chair allows you to sit down and can help avoid a slip and fall as well as over-tiring while showering.
Install Grab Bars
Hand rails next to the toilet and the tub give your elderly loved one something to hold on to while sitting or getting up or while stepping out of the bath and shower. Since this is a prime time when we are off-balance, having a grab bar can provide a steadying option to help avoid a fall.
Adjust Levels of Toilet and Fixtures
Purchase a height adapter to raise the level of the toilet seat. This reduces the distance people have to lower and raise themselves. Grab bars should also be installed near the toilet. Adjust the height of the sink so that people don't have to bend down as far in order to use it. If residents are wheel-chair users, adjust the sink to an wheel-chair appropriate height.
Install Guards against Slipping
In addition to putting grab bars in the bathroom, it's important to eliminate or address areas that may become slippery or potentially cause a fall. Make sure flooring is not too slippery. Gripping rugs or no-slip rug pads can be very helpful so seniors can maintain their footing.
Install Bright Lighting
Since many seniors are vision-impaired. Keeping lights bright can help make the bathroom easier to navigate. Change bulbs out frequently to ensure that the lights don't go out on your loved one.
Change Hinges on the Door
Change the door hinges so that it opens outward. When seniors do have falls in the bathroom, inward-opening doors can make it difficult for helpers to enter the bathroom. An outward-opening door will ensure that helpers can enter quickly in the event of a fall.
Caring Senior Service has the experience, compassion, and training necessary for comprehensive home care, and we also offer a wide range of home care services that are all designed to make life easier for seniors and their families. To learn more about bathroom safety, refer to our Home Safety Assessment. Our team can also perform the assessment of your home for free! Just reach out to your local Caring Senior Service.