Ten Safety Tips for Elderly Bathroom Use

October 30, 2023
Safety is paramount, especially for our elderly loved ones. As age progresses, the bathroom can become a potential hazard zone. Slippery floors, challenging tub access, and hard surfaces can present risks. Thus, creating a safe bathroom environment prevents accidents and maintains independence. Below, we offer ten vital safety tips for elderly bathroom use, ensuring safety and comfort.

1. Non-slip mats and Strips

Slipping is a leading cause of bathroom-related injuries, especially on wet surfaces. Address this by placing non-slip mats directly inside your shower or bathtub. These mats are specifically designed with materials that grip onto wet feet, reducing the chance of sudden, unexpected slips. Additionally, apply adhesive non-slip strips for the bathroom floor, which can get wet and slippery after baths or showers. 

These strips have a textured surface that provides an added layer of friction, especially in high-moisture areas. Ensuring these safety features are in place creates an environment that actively combats one of the most common bathroom hazards. It's a simple yet effective way to make daily routines safer and more secure.

2. Install Grab Bars

Navigating around the bathroom, particularly when transitioning from standing to sitting or vice versa, can pose challenges, especially for older adults or those with mobility issues. Here, grab bars play a pivotal role. By affixing them near high-risk areas like the toilet, shower, and tub, you offer an additional point of support. 

Choose stainless steel grab bars for installation. Why? Stainless steel not only ensures durability and can bear significant weight, but it's also resistant to the damp environment of bathrooms, minimizing risks of rust and corrosion. By strategically positioning these bars, you transform the bathroom into a space where safety and support are paramount.

3. Opt for Walk-In Tubs or Showers

The design of traditional tubs often requires users to take significant, potentially unstable steps to enter or exit, a task that can be particularly daunting for older adults or those with limited mobility. This is where walk-in tubs or showers make a notable difference. These specially designed fixtures feature a built-in door. Instead of lifting a leg over a high threshold, users simply open the door and walk in, just as they would enter any room in their home. This design facilitates easier access and minimizes the risk of stumbling or losing balance. By choosing walk-in options, you prioritize safety without compromising the bathing experience.

4. Ensure Proper Lighting

Visibility is a critical safety component in any space, and the bathroom is no exception. Insufficient or dim lighting can obscure obstacles and wet patches, making movements precarious. To combat this, equip your bathroom with bright LED lights. These lights consume less energy and cast an unmistakable, consistent glow throughout the area, highlighting every nook and cranny. Furthermore, for those inevitable nighttime visits to the bathroom, install nightlights. These gentle illuminators guide the way, ensuring you can safely navigate even in the dark. Enhancing lighting directly contributes to creating a safer and more user-friendly bathroom environment.

5. Raised Toilet Seats

Toilet seats at standard heights might not pose challenges for everyone, but for the elderly or those with joint issues, sitting down or rising can be strenuous and uncomfortable. This is where raised toilet seats come into play. By adding a few crucial inches to the seat height, these adaptive tools reduce the distance one has to bend or straighten, minimizing strain on the knees and back. The result? A more comfortable and safer bathroom experience allows individuals to maintain their independence and dignity without compromising safety or comfort.

6. Regularly Check the Water Temperature

Hot water, while comforting in moderation, can quickly become a hazard, especially for those whose skin sensitivity has decreased. Unintentional exposure to scalding water can result in painful burns. To prevent such incidents, actively monitor your water temperature. Set your water heater not to exceed 120°F (49°C), ensuring a warm yet safe water output. But don't stop there. Equip your faucets with anti-scald devices. These mechanisms regulate water temperature, preventing sudden surges of boiling water. Taking these precautions guarantees a safer bathing and washing experience for everyone using the bathroom.

7. Keep Essentials Within Reach

Accessibility is paramount when considering bathroom safety. Frequently used items like toiletries and towels shouldn't necessitate reaching, bending, or stretching—movements that can compromise balance or strain muscles. Address this by positioning shelves or caddies strategically, especially within the shower or bath area. By placing essentials within arm's reach, you enhance convenience and significantly reduce the chances of slips or strains arising from overreaching or losing balance. This simple organizational shift ensures that every bathroom visit remains efficient and safe.

8. Declutter the Bathroom

A cluttered bathroom diminishes the aesthetic appeal and poses significant risks, especially for older adults. Overcrowded countertops, unsecured items on shelves, or loosely hanging cords can lead to slips, trips, and falls. We advocate for:
  • Systematic Organization: Allocate specific storage areas for commonly used items, ensuring they are easily accessible. This could be through organizers, storage baskets, or cabinets.
  • Safety-First Approach: Ensure all electrical appliances like hairdryers or shavers have a designated storage spot away from water sources. Their cords should be neatly coiled and stored, preventing any tripping hazards.
  • Regular Clean-Up: Periodically assess the items in the bathroom. Dispose of empty or expired products and ensure that only essential items are within reach. This minimizes risks and makes the space more functional and accessible.
  • Clear Pathways: Ensure that the floor area, especially the path from the door to the shower or tub, is clear of obstacles. This allows for easy mobility and reduces the chance of accidental stumbles.

9. Consider a Shower Chair

The continuous act of standing, especially on wet surfaces, poses challenges for individuals with mobility or balance concerns. Maintaining stability in the shower can be daunting and risky for such individuals. Introducing a shower chair into the bathing routine can be transformative. This specially designed seating provides a stable and comfortable spot to sit during showers, eliminating the need to stand continuously. Using a shower chair ensures a more relaxed, safer, and stress-free bathing experience, accommodating those who might otherwise find showers taxing or hazardous.

10. Seek Professional Assessment

Every bathroom, like its user, is unique. The features and setups that work well for one individual may not necessarily serve another effectively. As such, obtaining a tailored assessment from experts is crucial. Consulting professionals like occupational therapists or home safety specialists can provide a comprehensive understanding of potential risks in your bathroom setting. Their insights are invaluable as they identify areas of concern and suggest precise modifications that cater to individual needs.

However, bathroom safety is one of many domains where specialized care and assessment can prove vital. Often, the overarching daily routines of our loved ones require additional assistance.

BrightStar® Home Care Edmond / Oklahoma City: Personalized Care for Your Loved Ones

Sometimes, the nuances of day-to-day activities necessitate a helping hand. This is where BrightStar® Home Care Edmond / Oklahoma City steps in. Our team of thoroughly vetted and certified care professionals is dedicated to providing hands-on support for various tasks, ensuring your loved ones receive the care they deserve.

Personal Care Services

We pride ourselves on our holistic approach to care, offering a range of services tailored to individual needs:
  • Personal Home Safety Evaluation: An expert analysis of home environments to identify and mitigate potential risks.
  • Outpatient Pre- and Post-op Care: Comprehensive care to facilitate seamless recovery from medical procedures.
  • Feeding: Ensuring nutritional needs are met with patience and expertise.
  • Oral and Personal Hygiene: Maintaining cleanliness and health with personalized hygiene routines.
  • Bathing: Providing a safe and comfortable bathing experience.
  • Toileting: Assistance with restroom routines, ensuring dignity and safety.
  • Ambulation: Support with walking and moving, promoting mobility and independence.
  • Dressing and Grooming: Assistance in daily grooming tasks, promoting self-confidence and well-being.
Our care professionals do more than just assist; they continuously observe. Any notable changes in your loved one's condition are promptly reported to BrightStar Home Care Edmond / Oklahoma City’s Director of Nursing, a dedicated Registered Nurse (RN).

Moreover, our team is adept at providing specialized care for seniors grappling with challenges such as memory loss or confusion due to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our comprehensive services aim to provide a sanctuary of safety, comfort, and professional care.

How BrightStar® Home Care Edmond / Oklahoma City Can Assist You

BrightStar® Home Care in Edmond / Oklahoma City understands the significance of a safe living environment for older adults. Their trained professionals offer personalized home safety evaluations, identifying potential hazards in the bathroom and other areas of the home. Beyond that, they provide a range of care services tailored to individual needs, from daily assistance to more specialized care, ensuring that your loved ones can enjoy the comforts of home without compromising safety.

Contact BrightStar Care of Oklahoma!

Looking into caregiving services may be overwhelming, but with BrightStar Care Oklahoma, we make the process much easier for you. We are confident that our team of professionals will assist you in looking for the right caregiver to care for your loved one by keeping you in the loop and more. Contact us today to learn more about caregiving services! Our office is at 3000 United Founders Blvd Suite 103G, Oklahoma City, OK, 73112. You may also call us at 405-896-9600. We look forward to hearing from you!