A bathroom for an aging parent can be a dangerous place. The walls may not have enough grab bars, and the floor may be wet and slippery. To make sure your aging parent is as safe as possible in the bathroom, in the retirement community, or even at home, read our bathroom safety for aging parents.
Reduce Clutter in Bathroom
Too much clutter in the bathroom can make it difficult for your parents to get around in the space. Additionally, clutter can be dangerous as numerous items and objects can create possible hazards. This can lead to accidents such as trips and falls and also inconveniences such as being unable to find essential items.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all falls in older adults are due to trips and falls in the bathroom. A recent study found that more than 80 percent of caregivers report having had to help an elderly loved one get up after a fall in the bathroom.
It is therefore important to take steps to keep their bathroom safe and free from unnecessary clutter. Below is a list of items you need to take note of to make the bathroom safe for your aging parent.
Hand-held showerheads are a popular choice for those who want to shower quickly and easily. But like any other appliance, they can be dangerous if not used safely. Here are some tips to keep your aging parent safe when using a hand-held showerhead:
- Make sure the showerhead is correctly installed by a professional. Many hand-held showerheads are not properly sealed and may leak, posing a danger to those using them.
- Always use caution when turning the water on or off with a hand-held showerhead – sudden changes in pressure can cause injury.
- Keep the water temperature low when using a hand-held showerhead – this will help to prevent scalding from hot water.
Grab bars are essential fittings in a bathroom for the elderly. As they may be facing limited mobility and weakened muscles, grab bars can help them to balance and steady themselves when they move around in the bathroom. Here are some key points to keep in mind when installing grab bars:
- Make sure the bar is at least 32 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet wide.
- Choose a grab bar that is easy to operate. It should have a soft grip and be sturdy.
- Make sure to attach the bar to the wall sturdily using anchors or screws.
- Be sure to install a sign directing users to find the grab bars.
Non-slip Bath Mats
You should consider installing non-slip bath mats. These mats help prevent falls and accidents, both in the bathroom itself and on the floor outside. Here are some tips for choosing suitable mats:
- Look for a large enough mat to cover the entire floor area.
- Ensure the mat is made from durable materials, such as rubber or PVC.
- Test the mat before you install it by rolling a water bottle on it. If it stays in place, it is probably good enough to use in the bathroom.
- Be sure to clean the mat regularly for it to remain slip-resistant.