When it comes to preventing falls and injuries in the home, the bathroom is the most important place to make changes. Adults ages 65 and older have the highest risk of injury from bathroom falls, which may include fractures, broken bones, and concussions. For your peace of mind, implement these 10 tips to improve bathroom safety for the elderly.
- Install grab bars: Grab bars are a lifesaver for seniors with poor balance. Install secure, bolt-on bars in the tub/shower area and near the toilet so your loved one can navigate the bathroom more safely and confidently.
- Apply non-slip flooring: Slick, wet floors are a common cause of bathroom falls. To minimize this risk, place a non-slip decal in the tub or shower. Then, apply non-slip decals to tiled bathroom floors.
- Reduce the need to bend and reach: The goal is to keep commonly used items within easy reach. One solution is to mount shampoo and soap dispensers in the shower. This also prevents bottles from slipping and falling onto the floor, where they may be difficult to retrieve.
- Upgrade to a walk-in tub or curbless shower: Losing balance while stepping over the side of the bathtub or shower curb is one of the biggest elderly bathroom safety hazards. Make your bathroom safer with a beautiful walk-in tub or curbless shower.
- Install a raised toilet seat: Many seniors find it difficult to raise and lower themselves onto the toilet. A detachable raised toilet seat increases the height by three to four inches and features grab bars for added leverage.
- Improve nighttime bathroom lighting: Older people commonly use the bathroom at night. Simply adding a nightlight in the bathroom and the hallway outside improves visibility to help prevent falls.
- Install a shower chair or transfer bench: The option to sit while showering helps seniors who have difficulty balancing on their feet. A transfer bench is another option to help limited-mobility seniors get in and out of the shower.
- Swap out the bathroom door: Most bathrooms have inward-swinging doors. Consider replacing yours with an outward-swinging model so caregivers can get in if the senior falls in front of the door. This will also increase ability to maneuver while showering.
- Prevent scalding at the tap: Older adults have thin, delicate skin and take longer to detect hot temperatures. Both factors increase the risk of scalding. Effective safety measures include lowering the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and clearly labeling the faucets.
- Outfit your loved one with a medical alert device: A waterproof medical alert bracelet or necklace provides an easy way for seniors to call for help if they fall in the bathroom and can’t get up.
At BrightStar Care, we hope to improve elderly safety by educating families about ways to minimize falls in the bathroom and throughout the rest of the house. If you’re looking for first-rate caregiving services from qualified, compassionate professionals, contact us today.