Whether you’re entering the twilight of your life or you’re caring for someone that is, you’ll need to adjust your home to suit their requirements. Bath safety is everything. The body’s strength and functions slowly deteriorate the older we get – that’s no secret – but there are a number of ways to make the home a safer and more secure place for the elderly. The bathroom is the main hazard area in the home, especially when it comes to falling. One in three people over 65 will suffer a fall at some point. It’s worth contacting someone like Safe Home Pro Inc. and consulting with a specialist about these kinds of safety measures. Here are a few ideas on how to make your bathroom safe for seniors.
- Install grab bars. Grab bars can be installed around the bathtub to help the elderly get in and out of the bath or shower. These bars are specifically designed and installed to bear the weight of a person, unlike towel bars and shower curtain railings, which are often used and often break. All grab bars should be slip-resistant and include special grip to ensure wet hands can hold them securely. Color contrast from the wall is useful for those with impaired vision. Make sure the bars are bolted on securely rather than applied with suction cups or other flimsy mechanisms.
- Shower chair and bath bench. A shower chair is an extremely useful tool for an elderly person developing balance problems. It also allows for resting while in the shower for those who have difficulties standing for long periods of time. A quality shower chair should have rubber strips on it’s feet to ensure it doesn’t slip and slide around the shower floor. A bath bench is different than a shower chair in that it is used on the outside of the bath as a means to step in and out of the bath, much like a step.
- Non-slip mats and surfaces. Most falls occur when stepping in an out of the bathtub or shower. Non-slip mats significantly help to reduce this risk. These can be applied to the insides of the shower and bath as well as on the outside. Mats for the inside of the shower should have rubber suction cups or water proof adhesives to ensure that it doesn’t slide around the surface of the shower.
- Raised toilet. The elderly sometimes have difficulties with their knees and/or their backs, which makes it a struggle to sit down and stand up from the toilet seat. Lowering themselves onto a higher seat reduces the risk of falling or becoming stuck in a lower position. Usually a raised toilet seat will only be an extra 3 to 4 inches higher than your average seat.
- Keep things within reach. Some older folks struggle to bend down or reach up to high cupboards in order to access toiletries. Try to rearrange your bathroom so that the toiletries are well within reach and don’t require excessive stretching or bending to access. Mounting easy liquid dispensers in the shower or bathtub is a good way to prevent elders from having to reach down to the ground in order to pick up shampoo or soap.