While you may consider your bathroom to be a safe place where you are able to relax and unwind with a soothing bath or invigorating shower following a long day, for seniors, the bathroom is in fact the most dangerous room in the home. With slippery floors which can be even slipperier when damp, closed-in spaces, and hard, unforgiving surfaces, falls are alarmingly common, and quite often end in serious injury.
At Absolute Companion Care, we’re always available to perform a safety assessment of the house and recommend modifications to decrease the danger of falls. And because January is National Bath Safety Month, now is the best time to share some things you can do today to help keep your family members safe throughout each area of the bathroom:
On the Floor
When you step into the bathroom, inspect bathmats and any other rugs to be certain they are firmly attached to the floor, without any loose edges to cause tripping hazards. Ensure 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 heated water safety stop in order to avoid burns.
Around the Toilet
Remove and replace standard toilets with ADA-approved versions, which are elevated and safer for senior loved ones; or, install a raised seat onto current toilets. Keep a medical alert button near the bathroom, enabling a senior loved one to easily call for help if required, along with a firmly installed grab bar.
In the Bathtub and Shower
As a general rule, showers or walk-in bathtubs are safer for older adults than standard tubs. Make sure the shower is equipped with both securely installed grab bars (strong enough to support the weight of an adult) as well as a shower chair and handheld shower wand. A waterproof medical alert button should be worn in the shower all the time.
Place frequently-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, possibly the best tip we can offer is to engage the services of Absolute Companion Care! Our fully trained and qualified caregivers are available to ensure personal care needs, such as bathing, showering, using the toilet, and hair/oral care are met with the utmost attention to dignity and independence, while ensuring older adults remain safe.