5 Ways to Make a Bathroom More Senior-Friendly

Anyone can fall. But as we age, our falls become more common and whole lot more serious.

The facts:

• 1 in 3 seniors will experience a fall each year, and half of those more than once
• 40% of seniors' falls result in hip fractures
• 20% of injury-related deaths among seniors can be traced back to a fall
• Seniors are injured at home more than any other location

And one of the most dangerous places? The bathroom.

Making bathrooms safe for seniors.With puddles, loose rugs and sharp corners galore, it’s no wonder why bathrooms are notorious for being the most accident-prone room in a house. But using the bathroom doesn’t have to be a hazard! With the right steps, it can easily become a safe and secure retreat for you and your elderly loved ones.

Here are a few ways to make it happen:

Install Grab Bars

When you fall, what’s the first thing you do? Grab on to the first thing you see. And for bathrooms without grab bars, that “first thing you see” is often a soap dish, a shower curtain or something else that can’t support your weight.

Grab bars aren’t just for getting in and out of the bathtub. They’re also a potentially lifesaving device that can prevent and lessen the severity of falls. So if you’re thinking of installing them, it’s best to call in a professional plumber who can ensure the grab bars are in the right locations, are properly placed and are strong enough to be effective.

Cut the clutter

Soap, makeup, lotion, toothpaste, medication—the number of products we use in the bathroom can get a little out of hand. And when they crowd shelves and countertops, they’re inevitably going to be knocked to the floor.

Bending over to grab an item is of the main causes of falls. Stiffness and loss of mobility can make it hard to bend over, and it’s so easy to lose your balance.

That’s why it’s so important to do a sweep of the bathroom and get rid of anything you don’t use or that doesn’t belong. Use easy-to-access drawers or shelves for the items you use on a daily basis, and put everything else in an accessible, yet out-of-the-way, place. Also, don’t forget to get rid of towels, loose rugs and dirty clothes—these are all invitations to trip and fall.

For great products that help you get organized, check out All Organized Storage.

Raise Your Toilet

The mechanics of sitting down on a toilet and lifting oneself up can be difficult, especially for a senior citizen with low body strength or other mobility issues. Life would be so much easier if it were just a couple of inches higher!

The good news is that there are many products designed to do just that. From elevated toilet seats to brand-new toilets that give much-need height, there’s an option for every budget and style. Some of the “comfort height” toilets have extra features, such as assisted flushing that makes pushing down on the handle easier. There are quite a few options available. Contact us and we’ll let you know what’s best for you individual situation.

Install a walk-in tub

For many seniors, bathing is one of the most uplifting daily activities. It rejuvenates, restores and relaxes, which is why it’s so important that they be able to continue this activity safely and independently.
A walk-in tub makes it easy to get in and out of the tub and enjoy all the comforts of bathing. And if you’re worried about being stuck with an institutional-looking design, lay your fears to rest. Walk-in tubs have greatly improved over the years and have become an attractive blend of function and style.

Switch from bar to bottle

Bar soap is tricky to hold on to and just as tricky to pick up! So while you’re in de-clutter mode, replace bar soap with a liquid soap dispenser or body wash in squeeze bottles. These are easier to use and will decrease the risk of falling or disorientation.

Safety is serious business, especially when it comes to seniors. That’s why we invest in the extra time, training, certification and equipment that we feel necessary to protect you family and your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in Victoria BC to discuss your unique situation and needs for safety, comfort and independence.

Also, check out Serenity Home Care, Victoria's premier non-medical home care agency in Victoria. Serenity has won many awards in the area of in-home care and support for the elderly and are a trusted name in this vital area in the city.

Image Courtesy of Sal Falko

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