5 Bathroom Safety Tips for National Safe at Home Week
The bathroom is a room in the house where many of the household injuries occur. This happens because of the nature of the tasks that are performed there, as well as the conditions that tend to be slippery and difficult for those seniors who are dealing with mobility or balance issues. This August 22 through 25, join with the rest of the caregiver community in observing National Safe at Home Week and find ways that you can increase the safety of your parent’s bathroom so that they can maintain more of their independence and avoid potentially devastating injuries.
Try some of these tips to improve the safety of your parent’s bathroom:
- Remove towel bars. Towel racks on the wall might be attractive and make it easy for your parent to dry their hands, but they can also pose a danger. If your parent starts to lose their balance or feels unstable while walking across the bathroom, they may reach for the towel rack. Because these bars are not designed to withstand much weight, this can cause it to break or tear away from the wall, causing a more serious fall.
- Put down mats. Bathroom mats are not just a part of the décor. They can also dramatically increase safety. Bath mats reduce the slippery conditions of the bathroom by keeping your parent from having to step on the slick tile floor. The bottom of the mat is rubber, which provides a strong grip so they can walk more confidently across the room.
- Label the faucets. The water inside the average home’s hot water heater can cause scalding in seconds. This is particularly dangerous for elderly adults because they tend to not feel heat signals as strongly, meaning that their skin could be burning and they might not realize it. Turning down the temperature of the hot water heater can cause mold and bacteria to grow, so it is not recommended. Instead, mark the hot water faucet with a piece of red tape. This will act as a visual reminder to discourage your parent from turning that faucet too high.
- Use a shower caddy. Leaning over to grab a bottle of shampoo might not seem like a major task to you, but for a senior who is dealing with mobility or balance issues it can be quite dangerous. A shower caddy fits over the shower head or on the wall so that your parent can simply take what they need rather than having to bend or reach for it.
- Reposition the tissue. If your parent’s bathroom tissue is positioned across from the toilet, they may need to lean over to reach it. This could cause them to lose their balance and fall. Instead, reposition the paper so that they can just take a piece from beside them without having to lean.
If your parent is experiencing challenges in the bathroom, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting a home care relationship for them. Having an in-home senior care provider with your parent means that their individual challenges, limitations, and needs will be addressed in the way that is best for them according to their personal preferences and goals. When it comes to personal care tasks in the bathroom this can be especially important. Since these tasks tend to be sensitive in nature, having a neutral professional care provider to help your parent handle these needs removes some of the negative emotional feelings that can come when you try to take them on. This means that their care needs will be handled efficiently, effectively, and respectfully so they can have peace of mind and focus more on living a happy, satisfying quality of life as they age in place.