While you might consider your bathroom to be a safe place where you can relax and unwind with a soothing bath or invigorating shower following a challenging day, for aging parents, the bathroom is probably the most dangerous room in the home. With slippery floors which can be even slipperier when wet, closed-in spaces, and hard, unforgiving surfaces, falls are alarmingly common, and frequently end in severe injury.
At Inspired Home Care, we’re always happy to perform a senior safety assessment of the home and suggest modifications to reduce senior fall risks. And since January is National Bath Safety Month, now is a great time to share some steps you can take to keep your loved ones safe in each part of the bathroom:
On the Floor
When you step into the bathroom, inspect bathmats and any other rugs to ensure they’re firmly secured to the floor, without any loose edges to cause tripping hazards. Make sure the floor is dry and clean, and do not wax bathroom floors.
In the Sink
Install ADA-compliant faucets, which offer both easy-to-turn handles and an adjustable heated water safety stop in order to avoid burns.
Around the Toilet
Remove and replace standard toilets with ADA-approved versions, that are raised and safer for seniors; or, install a raised seat onto current toilets. Keep a medical alert button in close proximity to the toilet, enabling the senior to easily call for help as needed, along with a firmly installed grab bar.
In the Bathtub and Shower
As a general rule, showers or walk-in bathtubs are less hazardous for seniors than standard tubs. Make sure the shower is equipped with securely installed grab bars (strong enough to support the weight of an adult), as well as a shower chair and hand-held shower wand. A water-resistant medical alert button should be worn in the shower at all times.
Put commonly-used items, such as soap, shampoo, towels, washcloths, comb/brush, toothbrush, etc., in easy-to-reach locations, off of the floor to make certain nothing poses a fall risk. Utilizing contrasting colors on the floor, walls, and vanity/storage spaces enhances safety as well.
And, probably the best tip we can offer is to engage the services of Inspired Home Care! Our fully trained and experienced caregivers are available to make certain that personal care needs, such as bathing, showering, utilizing the toilet, and hair/oral care, are met with the utmost attention to dignity and independence, while making sure seniors remain secure and safe.