You can’t always be there. But we can.
Today it’s very common for aging adults to grow old in their own homes instead of moving elsewhere for care. However, if family caregivers decide that’s what their elderly relative wants to do, there are a lot of responsibilities toward making the house safe and comfortable for seniors If your elderly relative is aging in place at home, the first thing you need to do is give the bathroom a safety makeover. Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of injury and death for elders, and an unsafe bathroom is a key contributor.
What Makes Bathrooms So Dangerous?
Ignoring the dangers of the bathroom can cause elderly adults to suffer from slip and fall accidents that can lead to concussions, cuts, bruises and broken bones. The combination of hard surfaces like tile or vinyl plus moisture is the primary reason why seniors are in danger. Elderly adults often have poor balance, bad vision, weak muscles and conditions like dizziness or vertigo.
The other factor that makes bathrooms so dangerous for seniors is what they do there. When they are trying to shower or bathe, they are bending, stooping, stretching, twisting and more, trying to get clean and manipulate faucets, bottles, washcloths and towels. When it comes to using the toilet, many seniors struggle there as well. Family caregivers must focus on making their elderly loved one’s bathroom as safe and comfortable as possible.
Can Family Caregivers Upgrade the Bathrooms?
Family caregivers can absolutely make a bathroom safer for their loved one. The first step is to install balance bars in the shower, near the bathtub and by the toilet. The bars need to be installed in such a way that they will support the elderly adult and provide the stability they need to keep their balance.
Slippery floors need to be addressed when upgrading a bathroom for safety. Family caregivers can put down non-slip bath mats and install textured, no-skid stickers on the tub or shower floor. Many elders find it helpful to have a shower chair to sit in while they wash so they don’t have to stand for long. Hand-held shower nozzles are also good to install for ease and convenience. Other bathroom safety ideas include raised toilet seats and wall-mounted shampoo and soap dispensers.
Will Elder Care Providers Increase Safety?
The best way to ensure that aging loved ones are safe in the bathroom is to hire an elder care provider to assist with bathing and showering. These professionals are trained to get seniors in and out quickly and respectfully. Of course, they are nearby to help with getting in and out of the shower or tub, using the toilet and dressing and grooming. Seniors can rely on their elder care provider to look out for their safety and well-being.
If an elderly relative is planning on aging in place, then family members should make bathrooms a slip-free zone. They must ensure that the bathrooms are safe and comfortable for elderly adults and convenient for any elder care providers that are assisting them.