Elderly Parents Home Care Safety  for the Bathroom

Elderly Parents Home Care Safety for the Bathroom

Did you know that older elderly parents fall and injure themselves in and around the home?

They trip down stairs, fall down while sweeping the patio, slip in the bathroom or stumble over electrical cords in the living room.

Making the house safer for seniors should be standard operating procedure for caregivers, but you'd be amazed at how many safety hazards get over looked. To someone young and healthy, a throw rug poses no danger. It's easy for a thirty year old to climb into and out of the bathtub. For elders, even the simplest tasks can become nearly insurmountable obstacles. Make life easier, and safer, for your parents. Go through the home one room at a time and take a good look at it. Look at the room through the eyes of a person who might have poor vision, or one who finds it difficult to walk without shuffling his or her feet.

Alarming Statistics

Studies have shown that nearly one in every three seniors over the age of 65 years old experiences a fall every year. Some of those falls are minor and result in only scrapped knees and injured pride, but many others are serious; broken bones, especially legs, hips and spine, can pose long-term and life threatening medical conditions for your elderly parent.

Elderly Bathroom Safety Shower Pulls
  • Older adults are hospitalized at least 5 times more than any other age group as a result of falls.
  • 20-30% of those falls are rated moderate to severe.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death (caused by complications) in seniors over the age of 65.

One of the most dangerous rooms in the house for an elderly homes is often the bathroom. To maximize bathroom safety, follow these simple yet very effective tips.

What to Look for in a Walk in Tub

Checking for Safety

Here's a checklist that will help you get started fall-proofing your bathrooms:

  • Does your elderly parent tend to use the towel rack near the bathtub for support when climbing into or out of the tub?
  • Does water get onto the floor after the bathtub or shower is used?
  • Is the shower stall floor or the bathtub slippery?
  • Are towels, soap and shampoo within easy reach?
  • Does your parent have difficulty sitting on or rising from the toilet?
  • Is there a nightlight that illuminates the path from bedroom to bathroom?
  • Is there a nightlight in the bathroom?

What You Can Do

  • Purchase and securely anchor grab bars for use in and around the shower, bathtub or toilet. Don't just nail into the drywall – find a 2x4 and use solid screws to anchor into place. Then, test them for strength and stability. When the floor is dry, test the grab bars by hanging from them, as if you were really falling. They should not budge.
  • Consider purchasing a raised toilet seat to make it easier to access toileting needs.
  • Consider upgrading your traditional bath to a walk in bath which is safer and easier to access.
  • Place non-skid mats and decals on the floor of a shower stall or bathtub, as well as on the floor in front of the tub or shower stall.
  • Consider placing a stool or shower chair in the shower stall for an elderly parent who is especially fearful of slipping and falling.
  • Make sure there are adequate places for your elderly parent to sit and take care of toiletries such as brushing the teeth, hair or other needs if he or she tires quickly.
  • Ensure that lighting fixtures are adequate for those suffering from poor vision or depth perception.

Remember that in a white bathroom, a white toilet might be difficult for someone suffering from poor vision or depth perception to see. In such cases, it is suggested that caregivers in the home of elderly parents place a brightly colored toilet seat cover on the toilet, or brightly colored cushions on chairs or benches. This will help provide strong visual cues and reduce the chance of an accident.

Create a Safe Living Environment

Create a safe home for elders, room by room. Some changes may require minor adaptations, while others may prove a bit more time consuming and expensive.

However, the alternative is frightening.

Look at your home with a very critical eye, and then do whatever is necessary to make it safer; not only for

an elderly parent, but your entire family.

 Different approaches and solutions may be necessary depending on overall health, medical and cognitive conditions and functions, as well as practicality. However, minimizing risks and maximizing safety is the best way to take care of a loved one in any room of the house.

Elderly Parents Fall Prevention Page

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