Although you might consider your bathroom to be a safe sanctuary where you are able to relax and slow down with a soothing bath or invigorating shower following a busy day, for seniors, the bathroom is actually probably the most dangerous room in the home. With slippery floors which can be even slipperier when wet, closed-in spaces, and hard, unforgiving surfaces, falls are alarmingly common, and often result in significant injury.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, we are always happy to carry out a safety assessment of the home and suggest adjustments to minimize the chance 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 family members 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 ensure they’re properly secured to the floor, with no loose edges to trigger tripping hazards. Make sure 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 an adjustable heated water safety stop to avoid burns.
Around the Toilet
Remove and replace standard toilets with ADA-approved versions, which are elevated and safer for the elderly; or, install a raised seat onto existing toilets. Keep a medical alert button near the bathroom, enabling the individual to easily call for help if needed, along with a correctly installed grab bar.
In the Bathtub and Shower
On the whole, showers or walk-in bathtubs are less dangerous for older adults than standard tubs. Make sure the shower features securely installed grab bars (strong enough to support the weight of an adult) as well as a shower chair and hand-held shower wand. A waterproof medical alert button should always be worn in the shower.
Place commonly-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, probably the very best tip we can offer is to get help from Compassionate Nursing Services! 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 making sure senior loved ones remain secure and safe.