The bathroom may be the most dangerous room in the house for seniors. Even the most careful elderly people can still experience devastating injuries due to slip and fall accidents that take place in the bathroom. Combining lots of edges and corners, hard surfaces, tight spaces and water equals a danger zone that can cause everything from head injuries to broken bones.
Family caregivers can assess the level of safety for their loved one’s bathroom and take steps to neutralize or even reverse the dangers. Here are some high-risk situations in a bathroom and suggestions on what family caregivers can do to make it safer for their aging relatives.
- Problem: Water from the shower, tub, sink and toilet can make hard surfaces very slippery. Seniors with poor balance and slow reaction time can lose their footing in an instant and hurt themselves badly.
- Solution: Install no-slip shower strips and tub mats for added traction. If the bathroom has a tile floor, there are products on the market that coat the tile with a clear, non-slip treatment.
- Problem: Showering, bathing and toileting require seniors to bend, twist, and pull themselves despite reduced strength, lower mobility and poor balance.
- Solution: Install grab bars that bolt into the wall in the shower/tub area and toilet area. Elderly adults can use the grab bars to steady themselves and keep their balance. They can also catch themselves if they start to fall, avoiding flimsy supports like a towel bar or soap dish.
- Problem: Standing in a traditional shower requires seniors to be on their feet and moving constantly to stay in the water stream. Likewise, getting in and out of a tub can be problematic for those with mobility or balance issues.
- Solution: For the shower, it’s a good idea to get a high-quality shower chair with a back and sturdy rubber feet. A hand-held shower nozzle lets elderly adults direct the water where they need it most. A tub chair gives seniors support and a higher seat, so they can enter and exit more easily. While more expensive, a walk-in tub is extremely safe for aging adults.
- Problem: Negotiating a morning routine that include bathing or showering, dressing, grooming and toileting can be very difficult for seniors that are dealing with chronic conditions, disease, illness and injury. Many of these tasks are next to impossible for them to do on their own, but they try anyhow and end up hurting themselves.
- Solution: Hiring an elderly care provider to assist with the morning routine ensures that seniors have an experienced and trained assistant to help them. The elderly care provider can help with bathroom tasks, providing a steady hand and stepping in to eliminate any hazards. Family caregivers can schedule the dependable and reliable elderly care provider for as long as they are needed.
Many elderly adults live in fear of falling and hurting themselves, robbing them of confidence when it comes to doing what they need to in the bathroom. Implementing some or all of these safety measures will boost their self-confidence so that the bathroom isn’t a place they need to worry about anymore.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elderly care in Little Falls, MN, please contact the caring staff at Alternative Senior Care today. Providing Home Care in Central Minnesota and Surrounding Communities. Call us Today (320) 352-3350.
Cindy grew up in Sauk Centre and raised her three children here. She has five grandchildren.Married to Mike since 2010, she keeps busy with gardening and outdoor activities.
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