It may surprise you to learn that one of the most important rooms in your home can also be one of the most dangerous when it comes to accidents. That room is the bathroom.
This is never more true for seniors who may be facing decreasing mobility. Impaired mobility, coupled with the hazards of water, electricity, and slick tile can make a trip to the bathroom even life threatening.
The good news is that there are easy, concrete steps you can take to make your elderly loved one’s bathroom much safer. Consider these things that can make the bathroom safer for seniors:
- Think about decreased mobility and balance. Decreased mobility is often coupled with poor balance. This can make the bathroom hazardous when it comes to falls. One of the first measures to put into place can be a grab bar, or handle. These bars can be put into place on walls, cabinets, or the sides of the bathtub, where the senior can grab onto them for extra security, and help balancing. If the senior is mobile enough to step in and out of the shower on their own, a grab bar can help provide extra balance and stability. There is a wide range of devices available to assist with balance and stability while using the bathroom.
- Think about ease of use. One of the easiest fixes for the bathroom is putting in a raised toilet seat. Many times seniors who have limited mobility find it difficult to lower and raise themselves onto a regular toilet seat. This can lead to a loss of balance that can result in a devastating fall. A raised toilet seat can be locked onto the regular toilet seat to prevent shifting during use. Many of the models come with arms attached, adding additional assistance toileting. There are many styles of these raised toilet seats available. Some can be fixed permanently (if the senior is still living in their own home or has their own bathroom), while others can be temporarily fixed to the toilet seat, and then removed if other people will be using the toilet.
- Think about the possible dangers of falling in the bath. Water is often the culprit when it comes to falls. Take a look at the shower, where many falls happen, and determine if there are steps you can take to make it safer. A shower bench can provide a comfortable place for your elderly loved one to bathe from. In addition, if your senior needs assistance, using a transfer chair can be beneficial for the senior and the caregiver as well.
- Think about the details. Sometimes the smallest items can potentially be the biggest problems. Loose rugs can cause tripping, as can lamp or extension cords strung across the floor. Cluttered counters and and the presence of harsh cleaning chemicals can also present dangers for someone with impaired mobility or memory. Simply taking the time to examine what could be a problem, and then putting a solution in place, can make the bathroom a safer and more enjoyable experience for your elderly loved one.
All of the products listed above are available at local medical supply outlets or online at such retailers at HME Medical Shop (hmemedicalshop.com)
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.