As we age, a number of everyday bathroom activities that require significant mobility become increasingly difficult for individuals who use wheelchairs and walking aids. Bathrooms present one of the biggest safety hazards for people with mobility issues. The combination of slippery floors and tubs, loose rugs, and tight-fitting spaces makes the bathroom one of the most common areas for slip and fall accidents to occur. Since bathrooms are often small, poorly ventilated, and lack telephones, seniors who experience injuries in the bathroom may not be able to call for the help they need.
Installing bathroom aids for the elderly can dramatically reduce the risk of a fall in a bathroom.
Bathroom Aids for the Elderly
- Raised Toilet Seat
Sitting down and standing up are two actions that require considerable muscle strength and flexibility. Elderly people with back trouble can find ease, safety, and comfort in a raised toilet seat, which can empower an impaired individual who might otherwise be dependent on a loved one or caregiver to use the toilet without someone else’s assistance.
- Toilet Safety Frame Bars
For additional support and to further reduce stress on the back, toilet safety frame bars can be affixed to an elderly person’s toilet. Some toilet safety frame bars double as a bedside commode and usable as a raised toilet seat.
- Wall (Grab) Bars
Since some bathroom doors are too narrow for walkers, it’s always a good idea to install grab bars throughout your bathroom. Though grab bars can be helpful for walking in general, they’re especially useful for getting in and out of the shower and getting up from the toilet. Though it may be tempting to grab onto a towel rack, these racks are not built to support a person’s weight and could easily be torn from the wall.
Providing disabled and elderly residents with a surface to grab on to for support, grab bars make it easier for people to rise and lower. They can also help individuals regain stability if they fall off balance.
To keep your elderly loved ones safe, be sure to purchase sturdy, well-made bars that are between 12 and 32 inches long. Temporary suction cup bars are simply too flimsy to withstand a person’s weight, while permanent grab bars next to the toilet and on each shower or tub wall can permit easier access and provide assistance in case of a slip.
- Bathtub Safety Rail
Slipping in or near the bathtub is dangerous in general, but it is especially risky for the elderly, who are less likely to stand up unscathed immediately following the fall. The placement of a bathtub safety rail can decrease one’s chances of falling and make stepping in and out of the bathtub much easier.
- Shower Chairs, Mats, and Shower Heads
For elderly men and women who rely on wheelchairs, the simple act of showering can seem overwhelming. Available with and without arms, shower chairs allow individuals who may not otherwise be able to wash themselves to get clean without the assistance of a family member or caregiver.
Shower chairs hold up to 250 pounds and come equipped with non-skid rubber tips and adjustable legs for extra stability and security. To ensure easy access, most shower chairs have removable arms and backs.
Beyond the use of shower chairs, installing rubber-backed mats on the inside and outside of the shower are great for reducing the risk of slipping. For added independence, installing a detachable handheld showerhead can make showering much easier without assistance from others.
Benefits of Bathroom Aids for the Elderly
By investing in bathroom aids for the elderly, you’re ensuring the safety of those with limited mobility. These prevention measures can reduce the risk of falls and serious injuries. Among those who are 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injuries and death, and the most common reason for hospital admissions. Hip fractures, head trauma, and lacerations are common injuries sustained in a fall, and these injuries can reduce a person’s mobility even further.
- Enhanced Independence
Using devices like shower chairs and hand-held shower heads can eliminate the need for a caregiver in some cases. This improves a person’s independence and helps protect his or her modesty.
- Improved Hygiene
Some seniors and those with disabilities might delay bathing and other personal hygiene activities because they’re worried about falling in the bathroom. The use of bathroom aids like wall grab bars reduces the risk of injuries so that those with limited mobility can maintain their personal hygiene routines.
Home Safety for the Elderly: Beyond Bathroom Aids
Bathroom aids are only one aspect of a safe home environment for the elderly. To speak with a professional about our stairway lifts, handicap ramps, and bathroom aid installation services, call 908-322-7070 today.