For the elderly person, the bathroom is considered the most dangerous room in the home. There are some precautions you can take to make sure your elderly loved one has safe, easy access into and out of the bathroom. While in the bathroom and using the facilities there, the elder should feel safe and confident. In honor of national preparedness month which falls in September, this article will give you tips to avoid preventable bathroom emergencies.
- Have a clear path down the hall on the way to the bathroom. No area rugs on the floor, no clothing, no shoes.
- Make sure the area is well-lit. If there are not enough lights, install a battery-operated push-light at torso level for easy reach.
- Bathroom doors can be very narrow, and thus difficult to walk through using a walker, cane or wheelchair.
- There may be a half inch rise of the floor across the door-jam at the bottom. If this cannot be changed or removed, teach the elder how to side-step to get in. There is less risk of falling when moving sideways in little steps. It also helps get through a narrow doorway.
- Make sure the floor surfaces both outside and inside the tub are non-slip.
- Bath mats must have a rubberized back so they don’t slip around.
- Grab bars are a must. The elder can’t take their cane or walker into the bathtub. Grab bars must be installed properly; don’t use a towel bar for supporting body weight.
- If you are unsure how or where to install grab bars, consult a professional.
- A handle on the edge of the tub as well as a shower chair can add extra stability and support when getting into and out of the tub.
- A grab bar near the toilet and a raised toilet seat also help prevent falls or problems getting off of the toilet seat.
Other bars which are useful to seniors in the home include bed rails and bed support rails. These help the elderly person safely get into and out of their bed. Some are adjustable and some are stationary.
When seniors fall in the bathroom they often end up in emergency. These falls can be quite serious and lead to other problems as a result of the fall. Most bathroom mishaps and emergencies experienced by seniors are perfectly preventable. Being prepared is also about preventing unnecessary emergencies.