Even the most independent seniors can struggle with bathroom safety. Slippery floors, tubs, and showers are dangerous for people of any age, and seniors especially need to be cautious when they are in the bathroom. One of the best ways to ensure senior independence and safety in the bathroom is to make modifications so that the bathroom is better suited to the seniors’ needs and abilities. Modifications actually promote senior independence and prevent accidents. We recommend a few of the most helpful modifications to improve accessibility and adaptability.
Preventing Slips in the Tub
Stepping in and out of the tub can be a daunting task for seniors. To make transitioning into the tub a little easier, consider installing a product that would help to prevent slips and falls. Rubber suction grip mats, adhesive strips, or an anti-slip surface material are three popular products for the bottom of the tub. Installing grab bars on the side of the tub or shower is one safety option for seniors who have mobility issues or who are at risk of slips and falls in the bathroom. Coupling grab bars with an anti-slip product can greatly reduce the risk of falls for your aging loved ones.
A bathtub or shower seat is another bathroom modification for seniors who have a difficult time standing for long periods of time or who have poor balance or general weakness. Most shower seats are constructed of durable plastic, while some include padded vinyl for extra comfort. Shower seats come in several options, including those with and without backs, those that are adjustable for height, and those that feature slip-resistant rubber feet. Heavy-duty shower seats also are available for seniors who need a seat that can accommodate more weight.
Adding Convenience to the Shower
If you’ve modified the shower with a shower seat or bench, another modification is to install a handheld shower for convenience. Handheld showers are within a senior’s reach, and they allow older adults to control the flow of water more easily than a traditional shower head, which generally is mounted near the top of the shower. Most handheld showers attach to an existing shower arm for easy installation, and others can be more permanently installed with a diverter valve. Handheld showers that are installed with diverter valves allow for other family members to use the traditional shower head. Another option is to install a shower head/handheld shower combination so that you do not have to incur the expense of installing a diverter valve.
Modifying the Toilet
If the bathroom has a standard toilet, the seat may be too low for seniors who have difficulty bending, sitting, or standing up from a low seat. Raised toilet seats are available as a modification to help seniors be more independent and safe in the bathroom. Raised toilets are available for both standard round toilets and elongated toilets. Many include handles to aid seniors in standing and sitting to prevent sliding, slips, and falls.
Some seniors do not require raised seats, but do require toilet safety rails or grab bars for added security and stability when sitting down on or standing up from the commode. Most toilet safety rails easily attach to the toilet, and some are adjustable for height and width. Seniors have more confidence when transferring to and from the toilet when they can hold on to and push down on a toilet safety rail.
Preventing accidents for seniors in the bathroom is not as difficult as it may seem, if you make a few simple modifications to meet their needs. Consider their weaknesses and the bathroom areas that pose problems for them, and then make modifications to prevent serious accidents. You’ll likely increase their confidence and sense of security at the same time.
About the Author
Angela Stringfellow is an author from Snappy Services, an electrical, heating and air (HVAC), & plumbing services provider based out of Marietta, Georgia. You can learn more about the services offered by Snappy in some of their most popular areas by following the links below:
- Decatur, Georgia – http://snappyservices.com/service-areas/decatur-georgia/
- Marietta, Georgia – http://snappyservices.com/service-areas/marietta-georgia/
- Roswell, Georgia – http://snappyservices.com/service-areas/roswell-georgia/
- Atlanta, Georgia – http://snappyservices.com/service-areas/atlanta-georgia/