As more seniors choose to age safely at home rather than endure the stress and emotional turmoil of a move into senior living, there is increased focus on crafting safe spaces for seniors across their homes.
The bathroom is an especially hazardous room for seniors, and has ample opportunity for safety improvements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted research into bathroom safety and found that the risk of falls and other injuries increases dramatically as individuals age, and particularly hit their senior years.
These tips can help you improve bathroom safety for your senior loved ones
In many instances, improving bathroom safety for the seniors in your life requires small investments of time and money. The peace of mind gained from these improvements is immeasurable!
- More grip can reduce falls. Replace slick flooring with textured material to provide more grip, or put down dampened towels to create a “path” for them to use to walk across the room after bathing or showering.
- Eliminate the unnecessary. Tchotchkes and other small decorative pieces may look nice, but they increase bathroom risk. If seniors slip or otherwise need support, they may reach out for shelving, towel rods and other items that are not designed to bear such weight. Resulting injuries could be incredibly serious.
- Clearly identify water temperature. Use water resistant vinyl, marker, or other material to indicate which handle is for hot water and which is for cold water. Easy identification can help prevent burns, particularly for elderly adults with cognitive functioning decline.
- Increase grip in the tub. Add a slip-resistant mat to the bottom of the tub to reduce the risk of falls.
- Further prevent injuries in the tub or shower. A rubber faucet cover will smooth hard edges and can prevent head or other injuries in case of a slip.
- Locate things strategically. Move the toilet paper close to the toilet so seniors do not have to lean. Soap and shampoo should be stored on shelves in the shower that are at strategic, easy-to-reach heights. Keep towels close to the shower to minimize moving around the room when wet.
- Improve hardware. Consider installing a raised toilet so that it’s easier for seniors to sit and stand. Handrails on either side of the toilet for leverage and balance when standing or sitting. Grab bars throughout the room can also help seniors balance as they move through the room, and in the bath or shower.