Creating a safe home environment for seniors starts with the bathroom — the place where, for the elderly, most at-home accidents occur. Whether it’s a slip in the shower or tripping on the way to the toilet at night, falls and injuries are especially common in this part of the house. That’s why, when you want to improve bathroom safety at home, you need to know how to handle bathroom hazard concerns. Here are some important modern bathroom safety tips for keeping you or your loved ones safe while at home:
- Install grab bars. Grab bars give you something to grab when you’re getting in and out of the shower, and they also offer a way to catch yourself if you’re about to fall. Add grab bars and safety rails to the shower/tub as well as near the toilet. Make sure they’re anchored well enough to support an adult’s weight.
- Add non-skid surfaces. While skidproof decals are a step in the right direction, they don’t cover the entire bathtub surface, so slips are still likely. Look instead for a mat that covers the surface of the bathtub floor. Likewise, you may want to add a mat with a rubber backing to the bathroom floor, too.
- Put in nightlights. For those middle-of-the-night trips back and forth to the bathroom, nightlights add illumination that can make all the difference between seeing your way straight to the toilet and tripping on something along the way.
- Lower the water temperature. Set your whole-house water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower so that, even if an elderly person can’t notice the hot temps, he or she is less likely to be injured.
- Provide seating. Extended periods of standing to brush teeth, wash up for bed, etc., can be wearying to an elderly body. Add seating to the bathroom that makes it possible to sit while getting ready. Likewise, consider adding a shower chair with a rigid back that allows for a seated position while showering.
- Raise the toilet seat. To prevent overexertion from having to go to the bathroom, add a raised toilet seat that makes sitting down and getting up much easier. For anyone with knee pain, hip pain, joint pain, etc., this can be a great, practical way to improve bathroom safety.
- Have items within reach. Whether it’s shampoo and conditioner easily reachable in the shower or toothpaste and soap easy accessible at the sink, keep items in the places where you use them. This helps eliminate unnecessary reaching, searching and standing, and the potential for accidents that comes with them.
- Provide supervision. In some cases, the best and most important way to protect a senior in the bathroom is through the care of a loved one. Whether it’s a relative, friend or home health aide, having someone nearby greatly reduces the chance of serious injury.
As you or your loved ones age, it’s only normal to start thinking more about safety at home. You want to rest easy knowing that daily tasks like going to the bathroom won’t cause harm. Because, while staying in your own house can be a wonderful comfort, it’s vital that you remain safe. Use the eight tips above to make the bathroom a safer place where accidents are less likely to occur!
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