For many seniors who live with a degree of mobility impairment, the bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. Fortunately, there are many implements that can be installed in the bathroom to make it more accessible for anyone who uses it, such as grab bars, textured flowing, and a walk-in tub and shower combo. With the right improvements, safety in the bathroom can be greatly enhanced for seniors who have chosen to age in place.
But making the bathroom a safer place takes more than simply installing a walk-in bathtub/shower combo. While installing the proper equipment and fixtures is helpful, there are also some habits and behaviors that seniors can implement to increase the level of safety in the bathroom and dramatically reduce some of the associated risks. Keep reading to learn a few safety tips that seniors can use to be bathroom safe.
Get a Shower Chair
Moving around in the tight quarters of a typical shower or bathtub can be challenging for those who don’t live with mobility impairment, but for seniors it can be downright dangerous. Not to mention, the constant presence of moisture and slick bathroom surfaces can set the stage for accidents. One of the best ways to avoid that dynamic is by using a bath chair in the shower. A bath chair makes standing to bathe or shower unnecessary, which eliminates much of the risk of slipping, falling, or losing one’s balance.
Use a Transfer Bench
Those who have never dealt with mobility impairment may not be familiar with a device known as a transfer bench. However, it can make navigating the bathroom safer and more convenient for people who have a hard time overcoming the typical bathroom obstacles. A transfer bench is simply a flat board or bench that allows seniors who can’t lift their legs over a tub’s side to enter the bathtub safely. The bench is placed between the user’s wheelchair and a bath seat in the tub, and the senior can slide across and safely span the gap between the two seats using the transfer bench.
Check the Temperature
For many seniors, dangers in the bathroom extend beyond slips and falls. There’s also a considerable threat of burns from excessively hot water as well. Seniors with mobility impairment may not be able to move as quickly as their younger counterparts, so while a younger person may be able to quickly escape water that’s too hot, a senior may be severely burned. Therefore, it’s a good idea to always check the water temperature before entering the shower or tub. Doing so only takes a minute, but it can prevent dangerous burns and the pain that goes with them.
Get Rid of Rugs
Many people keep bath mats and rugs in the bathroom for decorative and practical purposes. While they’re not usually a problem for ambulatory people, they can be dangerous for people with mobility impairment. Unless they feature a gripping texture on the bottom, they can slip from beneath a senior and cause a hard fall. They can also pose a tripping hazard for those who move by shuffling their feet rather than lifting them. It’s better to remove throw rugs and bath mats from the bathroom to remove the threat of a fall.
If you or a loved one lives with mobility impairment, make sure to use these tips to make the bathroom a safe place for seniors. By removing tripping hazards, developing safe behaviors, and getting the proper equipment, the bathroom can once again serve as a place for relaxation rather than danger and stress. To learn more tips for making the bathroom safer for seniors, contact Safe Step Walk-In Tub Company at (800) 346-6616.