Falls among elderly are common, especially in the bathroom due to slippery conditions and the movement required for bathroom activities. Staying safe in the bathroom is important for people with joint pain, muscle weakness, or physical disability. . If any of these issues exist, precautions will need to be taken in the bathroom. There are several things you or a loved one can do to make the bathroom a safer environment.
Bath & Shower Improvements
Put non-slip suction bath mats or rubber silicone decals in the bottom of your tub to prevent falls. You can also use a non-skid bath mat outside the tub for firm footing.
If you don't already have one, install a single lever on your faucet to mix hot and cold water together.
Set the temperature on your water heater to 120° F to prevent burns.
Sit on a bath chair, bath stool or bath bench when taking a shower. Shower chairs and shower benches are great for those who cannot stand or cannot stand for a long time. These also increase safety and decrease a change from falling in the tub or shower.
Use atransfer bench or tub rail. Transfer benches allow an individual to sit on the bench and slide into the tub. These are great from those who cannot lift or have trouble lifting their legs over the tub wall. Tub rails are also available to assist in getting in and out of the tub.
Install a handheld shower head . Hand held shower heads will aid in bathing if in the seated position. These also help in prevent from bending to rinse off different areas of the body.
Install safety bars. Grab bars should be secured vertically or horizontally to the wall, not diagonally. You will need two grab bars: one to help you get in and out of the tub, and another to help you stand from a sitting position.
Place a seat or stool outside the shower or tub to sit on while drying off.
Make sure the towels, soap and shampoo are within easy reach from the shower or tub. Long handled sponges are also available to help with hard reaching areas of the body.
Install an elevated toilet seat . Raising the toilet seat height can help prevent falls.
Install grab bars, remember, grab bars should be secured vertically or horizontally to the wall, not diagonally. Safety bars will aid in lowering and getting up to and from the toilet seat.
Install toilet seat cushion if pressure sores or other conditions cause pain while sitting are present.
Use a commode if mobility is a concern to get to the bathroom. Commodes are portable toilets that have arms and a seat for those with disabilities.
Miscellaneous bathroom improvements
Place a chair or stool near the vanity or somewhere close so an individual is able to sit and take care of toiletries, such as brushing the teeth.
Put nightlights or motion lighting in the bathroom and in the path to the bathroom to ensure better visibility during the night.
Remove any dangerous rugs that could cause slips and trips; replace them with anti-slip mats (especially around the shower or bathtub) or textured tile flooring.
It is crucial that bathroom improvements be made if mobility or weakness is a factor to you or a loved one. If not implemented correctly and a fall does occur, it can lead to serious injuries. Contact your doctor if you have further questions on how to improve the bathroom to be safe and make sure there is someone who is qualified to make the improvements, such as a handy-man.
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