Bathroom Safety Check for Seniors
A warm bath or shower can soothe and relax aching joints and muscles, but statistics show that the bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the house, especially for elderly. A bathroom safety check can help.
Most injuries experienced by seniors are due to falls, and many of those take place in the bathroom. Bathrooms are dangerous because they are usually full of hard surfaces like ceramic tile, marble and porcelain fixtures.
The Problem with Bathrooms
Bathrooms can easily get wet and slippery. They may have poor lighting and throw- rug tripping hazards. It is all too easy to fall while we’re trying to step in and out of the tub, and get on and off the toilet. Add to this list our tendency to grow less mobile and stable with age, and we’re left with plenty of opportunity for accidents.
Many bathroom safety improvements can be made easily. Others may require the help of a professional. This bathroom safety check will help you enjoy your safe, warm bath while taking precautions to prevent falls.
Nine point Safety Check
- Grab bars installed in strategic locations around the tub and toilet are a must. Holding onto towel bars or soap dishes should be avoided. These utility fixtures were made to carry the weight of towels and bars of soap. Using them for a personal “hand-holds” puts the user in danger when the fixture releases and causes a loss of balance and a serious fall. Having said that, Grab Bars should be installed by a competent installer so the user can depend on a safe and stable hand-hold.
- Shower chairs and benches will help anyone with balance issues. People can shower for as long as they wish when seated on a shower chair and using a hand-held shower wand to bathe independently. Sitting while bathing will solve fatigue from standing.
- A battery-operated bath lift which supports the bather in a seated position and which lowers into a tub is very useful for a bather who cannot seat themselves and remain stable in a tub. This makes bathing in a tub possible for a person who would otherwise not be able to sit down and stand up from a tub.
- Using non-slip mats will help with the wet environment. However, it is important to consider the tripping hazard a bathmat might cause to someone using a walker or has other stability or mobility issues.
- There needs to be adequate lighting in your bathroom during the day. Also, use a low light (such as a nightlight) to provide illumination at night. A light switch right by the door is always handy.
- Reduce clutter and gain space by removing unnecessary cleaning products, decorations and other non-essential items.
- Avoiding scalding water by turning down the temp on your water heater to 120°or lower. Make sure HOT and COLD faucets are clearly labeled in tub/shower and sink.
- Don’t lock the bathroom door if you don’t need to. Use door locks that can be unlocked from outside the bathroom in case of an emergency.
- Finally, ask your doctor about getting an Occupational Therapist to visit to evaluate the user’s abilities. Then suggest the necessary bathroom upgrades needed to make your particular bathroom as safe as possible.
Make it work
If you enjoy taking baths or showers, there’s really no reason to avoid them. With a few pieces of bathroom safety aids and some common sense precautions, you can enjoy a warm bath in your home, safe and sound.
If you have some tips of your own, or simply have some comments, please let us hear them.