Showering and using the bathroom can be a challenge for seniors, and some may begin to resist basic personal care because they’re afraid of getting hurt. In fact, up to 80 percent of falls occur in the bathroom, but making a few simple changes can make daily care safer for your elderly loved one.
Install Grab Bars
When mounted on the shower wall, the edge of the tub or near the toilet, grab bars provide support for seniors who lack the stability or balance to navigate the bathroom safely.
Choose bars with a slip-resistant grip and a secure attachment mechanism. Avoid suction cup bars, since these can easily pop off when weight is applied.
Invest in a Shower Chair
If your loved one has trouble standing or balancing in the shower, a simple shower chair can make all the difference.
Choose a model with the right support to provide comfort and maintain safety while showering. For seniors who prefer baths, consider a transfer bench to prevent falls when stepping over the edge of the tub.
Lay Out Non-Slip Mats
Tub and shower floors are notorious for being slippery and can be especially dangerous for seniors who struggle with balance.
Place a non-slip mat in the shower, and pair it with a non-slip rug on the floor outside the tub so that your loved one is safe stepping in and getting out. Look for mats with strong grips to prevent sliding or bunching.
Consider an Elevated Toilet Seat
Whether your loved one is losing strength as a natural part of aging or is experiencing weakness due to illness, sitting down on and getting up from the toilet can be difficult. Seniors struggling with chronic pain may also find using an average height to low toilet challenging.
Install an elevated seat for easier access and a more comfortable experience.
Provide Better Lighting
Poor lighting can be dangerous for anyone, and seniors who already have vision impairment are at a greater risk of bumping into something or falling when the bathroom isn’t bright enough.
Add a nightlight and switch to stronger bulbs in existing lighting fixtures to improve visibility. If necessary, install more lights in both the bathroom and the hallway leading to the bathroom.
The ability to perform basic personal care is key if your elderly loved one wishes to maintain his or her independence. Updating the bathroom allows seniors to continue taking care of themselves and enjoy more healthy, active years at home.
If you are worried that your loved one needs more assistance than what’s suggested here, consider hiring in-home aides. At Caring Home Care all of our in-home caregivers are certified Home Health Aides, CNAs, RNs or LPNs who have passed Level 2 background screenings.