10 Tips for Making Your Bathroom Safer for Seniors
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to make our homes safer. One area of the home that can be particularly dangerous for seniors is the bathroom. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 tips for making your bathroom safer for seniors. Following these tips can help reduce the risk of slips and falls in the bathroom and keep your loved ones safe!
Whether you’re a senior yourself or live with one, it’s important to ensure your bathroom doesn’t create any hazards. But don’t worry! You don’t necessarily have to do any major renovations (although updating your shower or tub might be a good idea). Below, we discuss some of the practical ways you can create a safer environment for everyone living in your household.
1. Use a night light.
A night light can help prevent falls by lighting up the bathroom so you can see where you’re going. Night lights are an inexpensive solution to dark spaces and remove the problem of fumbling around for the light switch in the middle of the night. Besides placing one in the bathroom itself, you can even install several lights to illuminate the path from the bedroom to the bathroom. Some nightlights are even designed to work during power outages, making them an extra-safe option.
2. Install grab bars.
Grab bars can help seniors stay safe in the bathroom by providing support when getting in and out of the shower or bathtub. Look for grab bars that are ADA compliant, meaning they meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. ADA-compliant bars, when properly installed, are safe for people of various weights and heights.
These bathroom safety bars for seniors can be installed anywhere in the bathroom where balance or support might be required —over the toilet, near the shower, or even toward the exterior of a bathtub. Easy to install and use, they provide peace of mind for those who want their elders to remain as independent as possible for longer.
3. Keep things within reach.
Make sure that all of your toiletries and towels are within easy reach so you don’t have to stretch or bend to get them. You can even consider keeping a shower caddy nearby that contains all your toiletries. This way, you won’t have to turn around and risk a misstep when reaching for something. Take a few minutes before your shower or bath to lay your items out ahead of time.
4. Use a non-slip mat.
A non-slip mat in the tub or shower can help prevent falls by providing traction and stability. It’s no secret that soap and a slick shower base don’t mix. Check your mat frequently to ensure it’s still in prime condition, replacing as needed. Clean the mat often to prevent soap scum from building up, as this can be very slippery. If you’re not able to scrub the mat yourself, ask a friend or family member to do it for you.
Consider a non-slip bath mat for outside your shower as well. These mats have a better grip than standard bath rugs. Non-slip shower stickers that can be placed on the floor are also a good option that offers increased traction.
5. Wear shoes with good traction.
Wearing shoes with good traction will help you avoid slips and falls while walking to and from the bathroom. Your doctor can help advise you on the types of shoes that suit your balance needs the best. If you have difficulty tying laces, you might want to opt for shoes that include Velcro straps.
6. Don’t rush.
Take your time when getting in and out of the shower or bathtub to avoid falls. Slipping in the bathroom is all too common, and all it takes is one accidental maneuver for a fall to happen. Never rush when getting into or out of the shower. That ringing phone can wait until you’re safe and sound! Plan your bathing routine for when you have plenty of time.
7. Use a handheld showerhead.
A handheld shower head can make it easier to bathe without having to stand. This can help reduce the risk of falls. You could also consider installing a shower seat so that you can remain safely seated while using the showerhead. Many designs are available for both showerheads and shower seats. Be sure to choose devices that are easily maneuverable and accessible.
8. Keep the floor clean and dry.
Mop up any spills right away and make sure the floor is dry before walking on it to avoid slips and falls. If you spill any soap or shampoo, clean it up immediately. It’s never a bad idea to have a rag handy when an accident happens. Don’t forget to rinse out your shower or tub once you’re finished bathing to make sure soap doesn’t dry on the bottom. Otherwise, the next time you turn the shower on, the floor will be extra slippery.
9. Install a barrier-free shower.
A barrier-free shower is one that has a shower pan (base) with a minimal height. This design is ideal for anyone who uses a wheelchair or people who have trouble lifting their legs over the high walls of a bath tub. Barrier-free showers are a bit of a costlier renovation than some of the other tips on our list, but they can make a world of difference when it comes to shower safety.
10. Consider a walk-in tub.
Walk-in tubs are also designed to be easier for people with special mobility needs. Walk-in tubs often have swinging doors that make entering and exiting the tub easier than traditional models (which require bending down). These tubs are usually equipped with built-in grab bars and non-slip surfaces to make bathing even safer. The built-in seats in the tub mean you don’t have to stand for long when going about your bathing routine.
Consider Other Add-Ons
You may also want to look into over-the-door hooks or hanging organizers for towels to alleviate worries about slipping. Keep the cords of any appliances (curling irons, hair dryers, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, etc.) out of the way with a cord organizer.
You can also look into modifying your current toilet by adding on a raised toilet seat. These higher seats require less bending than traditional toilet seat designs. With today’s range of options available to customize any bathroom according to your needs, it is worth considering what could help prevent falls and injuries so that you stay comfortable and enjoy peace of mind at home.
If you or your loved one has mobility concerns, take the time to explore safer options for your bathroom. While some of the options available are simple, low-cost solutions, more expensive renovations like tub or shower conversions could be well worth the extra money.
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