For many people in the current climate who want to safely retain their independence within the comfort of their homes, aging in place makes perfect sense. Whether it’s because they’re more comfortable at home or simply want to postpone the financial expenditure of heightened residential care, many seniors are opting to remain in the home as they progress in age. That can be done safely with a few key renovations to improve safety and quality of life.
One room in the home that can be a potential hazard for those who are aging in place is the bathroom. The combination of wet floors, high-sided bathtub-shower combos, and few steady handholds can result in dangerous falls. When preparing a home for someone who has chosen to age in place, it’s important to make amendments to the bathroom that will increase safety, such as the installation of a walk-in shower-bathtub combo and support bars that provide additional leverage and stability. Keep reading to learn more about how you can get your bathroom aging-in-place ready in a few easy steps.
Bathtub and Shower Renovations
The bathtub and shower areas represent hot spots for injuries among those who are aging in place. The combination of high tub sides, slippery surfaces, and few viable handles to use as support can create a dangerous situation. Fortunately, there are innovations that can mitigate some of the risks and make the bath or shower area far less daunting. For those who enjoy baths or use them therapeutically, a walk-in bathtub can be a great solution for the safety concerns associated with traditional bathtubs. These walk-in tubs feature doors in the side that provide a lower entry step into the tub. You can also install low-slip seating in your bath or shower. That can provide extra support, a place to sit during the bath or shower, and a seating option that’s easy to access. Sitting in the shower is much safer than standing for anyone who may have compromised balance or stability, so the addition of a shower-safe chair can make a big difference in comfort level.
Easy Access Fixtures
Another important amendment that can be made is the addition of handheld shower fixtures that allow those aging in place to have easy access to water. If, for example, there’s only a fixed showerhead in the bath or shower area, a seated senior may not be able to get the water pressure necessary to shower. It’s important to get handheld fixtures that allow for positioning at the level of a seated person. A handheld fixture and sliding position bar can allow a person to get full access to the water at any level in the shower or tub.
Grab bars are a key component in any aging-in-place-friendly bathroom because they provide a source of leverage that can help in basic tasks such as entering the tub or using the toilet. Grab bars are solid, stable bars that are mounted to the wall surface in strategic locations around the bathroom, such as in the bathtub enclosure or wall adjacent to the toilet. They must be bolted to studs within the wall for maximum stability. While many are stainless steel for easy cleaning, there are also more aesthetic options available in a variety of styles and colors.
Upgraded Low-Slip Flooring
Flooring is also a critical concern, as most bathrooms feature tile floors that can be quite slippery when wet. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to make the floors in the bathroom safer for those aging in place. This can mean something as minimal as placing nonslip rugs or mats in any place in the bathroom where wet floors are possible. Or, you can install rubber or rubberized flooring that will reduce slipping risks substantially.
If you or a loved one plan on aging in place in the home, make sure to take the proper steps to mitigate risks in the bathroom. To learn more about how to get your bathroom aging-in-place ready, contact Safe Step Walk In Tub Company at (800) 346-6616. Our tubs and showers are made in the USA.