If our goal is to keep our parents or senior loved ones safely in their own home, one of the best places to start is the bathroom. For seniors, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the home. A small space with water, slick floors, hard surfaces and wall mounted towel bars doesn’t mix well with someone who may be frail, has poor vision, or may have walking or balancing issues. A fall resulting from this combination can lead to serious injury and even hospitalization. There are things you can do to prevent accidents in the bathroom.
*Install grab bars in showers and bathtubs. You don’t want your loved one grabbing a towel rack for balance or support because racks can’t hold their weight. Another option is to purchase a rail that fits over the bathtub edge without damaging the tub.
*A shower/tub chair in the tub is a good option if your senior has balance problems or general weakness. They come in a variety of heights and be sure to get one with slip-resistant rubber feet.
*If you use a tub chair, invest in a hand held shower spray. They’re easy to handle and with their flexible hoses they’re more convenient to use in a seated position.
* Make sure the bottom of the tub has nonskid tape or a nonskid bathmat.
*A raised toilet is helpful to anyone who has problems getting up or down from a seated position or problems with bending. An alternative would be to add a raised toilet seat to an existing toilet. Toilet safety frames with armrests can be added to help with transferring to and from the toilet or grab bars can be installed near the toilet.
*Be sure the temperature on the water heater is set at 120 degrees F or less. Anything higher than that can scald skin.
*Make sure there’s a nightlight in the bathroom and in the hallway going to the bathroom.
*Install bathroom door locks that can be unlocked from both sides. You need to be able to get to your loved one if there’s an accident in the bathroom.
Over one third of falls and accidents in the home occur in the bathroom. Following these tips will go a long way in preventing the most common bathroom injuries. Please share any other tips you have and visit us at www.trilliumhomecare.com