While you may consider your bathroom to be a safe sanctuary where you are able to relax and rest with a soothing bath or invigorating shower at the end of a hard day, for aging parents, the bathroom is undoubtedly the most dangerous room in the home. With slippery floors that are even slipperier when wet, closed-in spaces, and hard, unforgiving surfaces, falls are alarmingly frequent, and often bring about serious injury.
At Anthem Home Care, we’re always willing to perform a safety assessment of the home and recommend modifications to help families figure out how to care for aging parents and improve senior safety in the bathroom and reduce the risk of falls. And since January is National Bath Safety Month, it’s an ideal time to share some steps you can take right now to help keep your family members safe in each part of the bathroom:
On the Floor
When you initially step into the bathroom, inspect bathmats and any other rugs to be certain they are properly attached to the floor, without any loose edges to cause tripping hazards. Make sure the floor is always clean and dry, and do not wax bathroom floors.
In the Sink
Install ADA-compliant faucets, which offer both easy-to-turn handles and a variable hot water safety stop for preventing burns.
Around the Toilet
Replace standard toilets with ADA-approved versions, which are raised and safer for seniors; or, install an elevated seat onto existing toilets. Keep a medical alert button in close proximity to the toilet, allowing the individual to easily call for help if required, in addition to a securely installed grab bar.
In the Bathtub and Shower
In most cases, showers or walk-in bathtubs are safer for seniors than standard tubs. Make sure the shower is equipped with both securely installed grab bars (strong enough to adequately support the weight of an adult), and a shower chair and handheld shower wand. A water-resistant medical alert button should be worn in the shower at all times.
Put commonly-used items, for example, soap, shampoo, towels, washcloths, comb/brush, toothbrush, etc., in easy-to-reach locations, off of the floor to ensure 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 are able to offer is to engage the services of Anthem Home Care! Our fully trained and skilled caregivers are readily available to ensure personal care needs, including bathing, showering, utilizing the toilet, and hair/oral care are met with the finest attention to dignity and independence, while making sure senior loved ones remain safe.