This is part two in our four part series on creating a safe environment for an aging love one. Most people are familiar with the concept of childproofing a home when a new baby arrives. There are several steps you can take to “elder-proof” your home and ensure a safe and comfortable environment for your parents in their later years. One of the key rooms of concern is the bathroom. The bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the house, with slippery surfaces that are easy to fall on and sharp or hard corners where someone can hit their head. Making the bathroom safe is an important step in helping your aging loved one to maintain their independence.
Here’s a few simple steps:
– Add an elevated toilet seat with handgrips on both sides. Ensuring that the toilet tissue is within easy reach can ease the strain on an aging parent’s back and legs, thus reducing the risk of falling.
– Equip the tub with a grab bars or a handrail placed at both sitting and standing levels. When using a bath chair or shower chair make sure that there are rubber grippers on the chair’s feet. Also make sure the chair is at the correct height so your loved one’s feet rest on the floor.
– If using a bedside commode, place it as close to the bed as possible.
– Use secure non-slip mats in the tub or shower, along with a wall-mounted liquid soap dispenser to keep your parent from having to bend down to retrieve a dropped bar of soap.
– Consider changing to hand-held shower devices. They are much easier to use when mobility is limited.
– If your parent does happen to slip in the tub, a shower curtain securely mounted into the wall will offer more support than a pressure-hung curtain that will pull away easily.
With the right bath safety cautions and aids in place, one of the most dangerous rooms in the house can become one of the safest.