Four Ways to Improve Bathroom Safety for Seniors

Finding efficient toilets

There are numerous challenges to growing older, including reduced mobility, decreased stability and weakening bones. However, many of these difficulties can be met. Instead, the true problem is often maintaining independence in spite of these factors. This is rarely ever truer than when it comes to using the bathroom, which is packed with slippery surfaces, unsuspected obstacles, and a lack of supportive elements. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken to promote bathroom safety for seniors. If you or a loved one is worried about aging and safety, following these tips can prevent injury and put worried minds at ease.

Firstly, Consider Your Bathtub or Shower
While stepping over the side of a bathtub is a simple task for most people, it can be difficult and perilous for the elderly due to the slippery surface, as well as a gradual loss of balance. For the same reason, various of types of shower stalls may not have enough supports to allow an older user to stand for long periods of time. For this reason, many families choose to install walk in bathtubs or handicapped showers. Walk in tubs have doors that open either inward or outward, forming a watertight seal. Removes the need to step over an obstacle onto a slippery surface. Likewise, walk in showers usually contain grab bars, a floor with a textured surface, and other helpful features. These bathtubs and showers can help people who have previously been unable to bathe on their own do so comfortably, safely and without assistance.

Secondly, Think About Your Lighting
After a certain age, sleeping through the night becomes impossible. However, these late night trips to the bathroom can be potentially dangerous if you or a family member can’t see where they are going. Simply adding a night light or installing energy efficient lights to be left on overnight can be a simple, helpful and cost-effective way of preventing bumps, bruises, falls and more.

Thirdly, Add Support Bars
When it comes to bathroom safety for seniors, grab and support bars are an easy and useful way to make every task easier. Most commonly used by people with reduced mobility, difficulty balancing, and other problems that make standing, shifting positions and other movements difficult, support bars can decrease falls and help many people feel more secure. They are typically installed around toilets and inside showers.

Finally, Plan for an Emergency
As important as independence is to the quality of a person’s life, every family and individual needs a back up plan in case of an accident. For this reason, it is often recommended that a bathroom be fitted with a door that locks from both the inside and outside. In other cases, some will choose to install a Jack and Jill door, which has two separate entrances. If an elderly person falls or experiences another medical problem, these features can be used to allow another person to easily enter the bathroom to assist them. The result is good bathroom safety for seniors without the loss of their autonomy.

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