Most seniors prefer to age in place in the comfort of their own home. With a few modifications and safety updates, your loved one will be able to live independently for a longer period of time. The following bathroom safety tips will get you headed in the right direction to keep your loved one safe at home.
When you start to lose your balance, your first instinct is to grab whatever is nearest to you. If that happens to be a sliding shower door or a towel bar, however, the object that you grab onto may not be able to hold your weight.
Keep your loved one safe by installing grab bars in strategic places, such as on either side of the toilet and on the wall next to the bath tub or shower. When properly installed, a grab bar will support your full weight and stop you from falling.
Bath tubs and showers are often the cause of falls in the bathroom, since they are slippery when wet. Use a non-slip shower mat or apply non-skid tape or treads to the bottom of your bath tub or shower.
Sitting in the shower or bath tub is safer than standing. You can really take your time bathing and enjoy yourself with a bath or shower chair. Options range from a small bath stool (for tight shower spaces) to a bath transfer bench that make it easier to get in and out of the tub.
With a handheld shower head, you can easily rinse off without standing or moving around underneath the shower head. The long hose allows you to move the shower head where needed, and you can control the spray settings for your comfort.
A higher toilet seat makes it easier to sit down and stand up. A raised toilet seat platform can be installed over your existing toilet seat for an extra boost. You may also be able to install a portable commode (without the bucket) over the toilet seat for arm rest support.
If you haven’t done so already, get a medical alert system for your loved one. Make sure the alert button is waterproof so that they can wear it in the bathroom. Encourage your loved one to press the button if they fall or get hurt, even if the damage is minor. Better to be safe than sorry.
The water heater temperature should never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water gets too hot, it can scald the skin. Elderly people have sensitive skin but are not always able to detect changes in temperature. Lowering the water heater temperature also prevents elderly people with arthritic hands or poor grip strength from accidentally turning the water on too hot.
Some bath and sink faucets are difficult for seniors with arthritic hands to use. Replace the faucet with handles that are easy to grip and use. Lever handle faucets are easier to use than handles that require pulling or twisting. Make sure the faucet also indicates directions for hot and cold water temperature.
Are you looking for a bath bench or a raised toilet seat? We have just what you need. Roll Mobility carries the best quality bathroom safety products from Drive Medical, Invacare, and Medline. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.
If you have a difficult time getting in and out of the bath tub, using a bath transfer bench can make your hygiene safer and easier. For independent users with slightly limited mobility, a bath transfer bench lets you keep your privacy and independence without fear of falling.
Poor balance, loss of vision, weakness, injury, and other factors common in aging seniors raise the risk of falls in the bathroom. With the right prevention methods, however, you can reduce the risk of falls and help your aging loved one maintain their independence.
Here are a few tips on bathroom safety, as suggested by Sunrise Senior Living.
A bath seat improves safety and comfort in the bath or shower. The bath seat by Drive Medical is easy to assemble. Just attach the legs, adjust the height, and it’s ready to use.
1. Take the bath seat parts out of the box and remove all packaging.
2. Lay the seat upside down on a flat surface so that all 4 leg receptacles are facing upward.
3. Attach the first leg by pressing in the push button and inserting the leg into the receptacle. When the leg is securely in place, the brass push button will pop out one of the adjustment holes, locking the leg in place.
4. Repeat for the remaining three legs.
1. The bath seat height should be adjusted so that the user’s knees are parallel with or lower than the hips when seated.
2. To adjust the height, press in the push button and slide the leg up or down to reach the desired height. Align the push button with the correct hole. The button should pop out through the hole in order to lock the leg in place.
3. Adjust all four legs to the same height. Count the holes to make sure each leg is adjusted correctly. The bath seat should not rock back and forth when placed on a level surface.
4. To double check that the legs are locked into place, push or pull on each leg to make sure it does not slide up or down.
A bath seat can make bathing safer and more pleasant for your loved one. If your bath seat comes unassembled, you will need to put it together before you can use it. The following instructions are for the Roll Mobility bath seat with backrest.
First, attach the backrest to the backrest tubes, using the bolts provided.
Then, lay the bath seat upside down on a flat surface.
Fit the tubes into the angled grooves on the bottom of the seat. The tubes should cross in the middle.
Attach the tubes to the seat with a washer and bolt. Tighten the bolt to secure the tubes to the seat.
To attach the backrest to the bath seat, lay the bath seat upside down on a solid bench or raised work surface.
Place the backrest upside down on top of the bath seat, with the backrest on the side of the bath seat marked “Rear.”
Line up the holes on the backrest tubes to the holes in the bath seat tubes.
Secure the backrest to the seat with the bolts and washers provided.
Adjust the height of the bath seat as needed by pushing in the snap button and sliding the leg tube up or down until the button protrudes through the correct adjustment hole. Repeat for the remaining three legs.
Make sure all four legs are adjusted to the same height by counting the number of holes between the bottom of each leg and the push button. Ensure that the legs are locked in place before use.
Bathing should be enjoyable for the elderly, but because of the fear of falling, they may avoid baths. Here are 7 things you can do to make bathing safer for your loved one.
When it comes to keeping your loved one safe, the bathroom is one of the first places to start. Bathroom safety products can make your loved one feel more secure and stay more independent by preventing falls.
Getting in and out of the bathtub is difficult for seniors who suffer from weakness or injury in the lower body and hips. Stepping over the tub wall can throw your body off balance, and your feet can easily slip on the tub floor or on the slippery tile outside the tub.
A bath transfer bench makes it easier and safer to get in and out of the tub. Instead of stepping over the side of the tub, you can sit down on the bench, lift one leg at a time into the tub, and then slide over to the center of the bench.
A transfer bench not only keeps you safe getting into the tub, but it also keeps you safe while taking a bath. Even though sitting on the tub floor might not be a possibility anymore (since getting up from the tub is difficult or impossible for seniors with weakness or injuries), you can still sit down while bathing or showering. Sitting on a bath transfer bench is safer and more comfortable than standing. With drainage holes, non-slip texturing, or a towel draped over the seat, the chances of slipping are greatly reduced. A hand held shower head makes it easy to rinse off and control the flow of water.
For safety, make sure the bath transfer bench is sitting solidly on all four legs. The bench should not rock or tilt to one side.
When it comes time to update your loved one’s home for aging in place, the bathroom is one of the first places to begin. Because of the risk of slipping on wet surfaces climbing in and out of the bathtub, as well as other hazards, the bathroom is a high risk area for falls. With a few improvements, however, you can reduce the risk of falling and increase the safety of the bathroom.
Grab bars are the first step in making the bathroom a safer place. Whether it’s getting in and out of the shower, getting up from the toilet, or bending over to turn on the tub faucet, grab bars provide a solid place to hold for balance and assistance.
When you start to fall, your first instinct is to grab onto something solid. If all you have to grab is the shower door or a towel bar, the results could be disastrous. Shower doors and towel bars are not designed to hold your weight. Grab bars, on the other hand, are specially designed to keep you from falling. Properly installed, a grab bar will not break away from the wall where it is mounted.
To make it easier to sit down on the toilet and get back up again, a raised toilet seat or an over-the-toilet commode with grab bars can help. A raised toilet seat means your loved one doesn’t have to bend over as far to sit on the toilet, and it doesn’t take as much leg strength to stand up again. Grab bars around the toilet also assist the user in getting up and down and keeping their balance.
For bathtub safety, a bath bench or transfer bench allows the user to sit while washing up. A bath or shower bench provides comfortable seating with either a plastic molded chair or a padded seat and optional backrest. A transfer bench extends outside the tub, allowing the user to sit down and lift one leg at a time over the tub wall, then slide over to the middle of the bench. Make sure you install a hand held shower head as well, for rinsing hard-to-reach spots.
Again, grab bars are important around the shower/tub area as well as around the toilet. They not only prevent falls by helping your loved one maintain balance, but they can also stop a fall after your loved one loses their balance.
Using a transfer bench can reduce the risk of falls in the bathroom. Since fear of falling is one of the major causes of anxiety for the elderly, a transfer bench can make bathing a much more pleasant and safe experience both for the caregiver and the elderly person.
To reduce slipping, choose a textured plastic seat. The drainage holes prevent water from puddling on the seat.
For more comfort, choose a vinyl padded seat or drape a towel over the molded plastic seat. Placing a towel on top of the vinyl padding reduces slipperiness that can occur because of the wet vinyl.
A back rest can increase comfort and improve sitting posture. Drape a towel over the back rest to make it more comfortable.
To make it easier to clean personal areas without standing up, you may want to consider a transfer bench with a cutout. Using a bath bench with a cutout requires good sitting posture to avoid slipping into the cutout.
To avoid getting the bathroom floor wet, cut two slits in the shower curtain and insert this section of the curtain through the slit in the transfer bench. If your shower has doors, you will need to remove the doors and replace them with a shower curtain.
Glass shower doors are a potential safety hazard, since the person in the shower may automatically grab onto the door handle to keep from falling. The shower doors are not designed to hold weight, and if they come out of the tracks, they could cause serious injury.
Adjust the transfer bench legs so that the feet sit firmly on the tub floor and the seat is level. The legs on the outside of the tub will be longer than the legs inside the tub, since the bottom of the tub is higher than the bathroom floor. The seat should be adjusted to a comfortable transfer height for the user.
Helping a loved one slide over on a transfer bench requires considerable caregiver strength. If your loved one needs help scooting over, we recommend a sliding or swiveling transfer bench. Keep in mind that sliding a transfer bench over with a person sitting on it still requires considerable strength. Use proper transfer techniques to avoid injury, and ask your loved one to help with the transfer as much as possible.
To prevent slipping, choose a transfer bench with drainage holes and a textured seat. To reduce slipperiness even more, place a folded towel on the seat. A colored towel provides a visual contrast between the tub and the transfer bench, which is helpful for individuals with poor vision or trouble with depth perception.
Most transfer benches include a built-in slot for the shower curtain. Simply cut two slits in the shower curtain where it falls above the slot, and slip the shower curtain cutout through the slot. If your shower has sliding doors, you will need to replace the doors with a shower curtain in order to use your transfer bench and keep the floor dry.
Your transfer bench comes with adjustable height legs. Press the release button on the leg, slide the leg up or down to the desired height, and make sure the release button pops all the way through the adjustment hole. Adjust the two legs outside the tub to the same length. Adjust the two legs inside the tub to the same length as well. All four legs should be adjusted so that the transfer bench is level.
Wash the transfer bench with mild soapy water. Wipe the bench dry after every use.