Every year, thousands of seniors die from fall-related injuries. Many of these potentially lethal falls take place in the bathroom, particularly when seniors are entering or exiting the shower or bathtub.
If you have a senior coming to visit or live with you, or you’re a senior who currently lives alone, these tips will help you keep your bathroom as safe as possible.
1. Install Grab Bars
A grab bar is a tool that provides seniors with something to hold onto while they’re getting in and out of the bathtub. Grab bars are meant to hold more weight than a typical towel bar, so they’re secure and won’t snap off while being used.
Look for a bar that is slip resistant and comes in a color that contrasts with the bathroom walls. It needs to be easy to spot, even if someone isn’t wearing their glasses.
Grab bars can be attached to the wall with suction cups or bolts. Suction cup varieties may be more affordable, but it’s typically recommended to spend a little more to get one that can be mounted to the wall for extra security and safety.
2. Buy a Shower Chair
Seniors who have trouble maintaining their balance while standing can benefit greatly from a shower chair. Even if they don’t need to sit the whole time they’re showering, the chair gives them peace of mind knowing they have the option to sit if they feel weak or dizzy.
Look for shower chair that has rubber tips on its legs. This will prevent the chair from sliding when someone sits down or stands up.
Some chairs look just like a regular stool or kitchen chair. These are fine for seniors who don’t have issues getting in and out of the shower by themselves. Other chairs come with one side that’s longer than the other. This longer side acts similar to a grab bar and provides extra stability for people getting in and out of the shower.
3. Make Washing Up Easier
It’s also important to invest in tools that make the process of bathing as simple as possible for seniors.
A shower caddy positioned at arm’s height makes it easy for seniors to reach items like shampoo and soap as they need them, without having to stoop or stretch. Like the grab bar, it’s better to buy a caddy that can be mounted on the wall so it doesn’t accidentally get knocked down.
You can also install dispensers for shampoo and body wash so that seniors don’t have to worry about bottles or bars of soap slipping out of their hands mid-use. A back scrubber can also help seniors avoid having to bend over or stretch while showering. For seniors, the best body brush for showers will have a long handle and a soft brush or loofah that won’t irritate the skin.
It doesn’t take a lot of work to make your bathroom a safe place for seniors. These four simple tips will make a world of difference.
4. Use Non-Slip Mats
Non-slip mats are essential for both in and outside of the tub or shower. Place one on the floor of the tub, as well as in front of the tub, in front of the toilet, and in front of the sink. These are places where seniors are most likely to fall while in the bathroom.
When shopping for non-slip mats, be sure to look for ones that have rubber on the bottom to prevent slipping and sliding. You may also want to buy mats that contrast with the color of the floor and shower so that seniors know where to step when they finish bathing.