While you might consider your bathroom to be a safe place where you can relax and slow down with a soothing bath or invigorating shower at the conclusion of a tough day, for senior loved ones, the bathroom is probably the most dangerous room in the house. With slippery floors which are even slipperier when damp, closed-in spaces, and hard, unforgiving surfaces, falls are alarmingly frequent, and sometimes end up in significant injury.
At Hearts at Home In-Home Care, we’re always willing to recommend home safety measures to minimize the risk of falls, and because January is National Bath Safety Month, it’s the best time to share some steps you can take today to help keep your older loved ones safe throughout each area of the bathroom:
On the Floor
When you initially step into the bathroom, look over bathmats and any other rugs to make sure they’re firmly attached to the floor, and free of loose edges to cause tripping hazards. Make sure the floor is clean and dry, and never wax bathroom floors.
In the Sink
Install ADA-compliant faucets, which feature both easy-to-turn handles and a variable hot water safety stop to avoid burns.
Around the Toilet
Remove and replace standard toilets with ADA-approved versions, which are elevated and safer for older adults; or, install an elevated seat onto existing toilets. Keep a medical alert button in close proximity to the bathroom, enabling the individual to easily call for help as needed, along with a correctly installed grab bar.
In the Bathtub and Shower
In most cases, showers or walk-in bathtubs are safer for older adults than standard tubs. Ensure the shower is equipped with securely installed grab bars (strong enough to support the weight of an adult) in addition to a shower chair and hand-held shower wand. A water-proof medical alert button should be worn within the shower all of the time.
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 sure nothing poses a fall risk. Utilizing contrasting colors on the ground, walls, and vanity/storage spaces enhances safety as well.
And, perhaps the best tip we can offer is to engage the services of Hearts at Home In-Home Care! Our professional and experienced caregivers are available to ensure that personal care needs, including bathing, showering, utilizing the toilet, and hair/oral care are met with the utmost attention to dignity and independence, while ensuring older adults remain safe.
Contact the experts in home care in Kansas City any time at 913-440-4209 for a no-cost in-home consultation, and to find out more ways we are making life better for seniors, every day, right in the familiarity of home!