A bathroom can be a dangerous place for the elderly, especially for those with balance issues and limited mobility. Bathrooms feature slippery, wet, and hard surfaces, cramped spaces, and plenty of sharp edges and corners, setting the perfect stage for a fall or serious accident. Fortunately, there are many ways you can address these hazards and make the bathroom safer for the seniors in your home.Bathrooms are often a cause of concern for seniors and disabled persons due to the many potential dangers that can be found, such as wet floors, cluttered counters due to a lack of storage available, and tub and shower combos that are difficult to get in and out of.
A safer, more accessible bathroom space will make all the difference for seniors, allowing them to maintain their independence and take care of their daily needs, without the risk of falls.
By making small changes to your bathroom, you can improve safety conditions, and remove hazards, giving the seniors in your home confidence to safely perform personal tasks.
Below, you’ll find some important and effective ways you can prevent bathroom injuries and make your bathroom space safe for elderly family members and visitors
Upgrade to a Walk-In Shower
For a senior who is unable to lift their legs very high, or at all, a walk-in shower can be a lifesaver. Walk-in showers are also more spacious and can include safety features such as non-slip bath mats, grab bars, and shower seats. There are many options available at your local home improvement store, but if you want a custom walk-in shower door, contact an experienced glass company. A custom walk-in shower will be designed with your bathroom’s layout and available shower space in mind. Additionally, a custom-made walk-in shower can include elements that will make your shower space safe for the seniors in your home.
Flat and Wide Shower Entry
A flat and wide shower entry offers a more bathroom-accessible design for seniors and an ideal bathing solution for people who have trouble getting in and out of a tub. With a curbless shower door design, the user won’t have to lift their leg over the tub to get into the shower, which can be a major issue for seniors with mobility issues and can affect their balance, resulting in a fall. A flat wide entry will also make your shower wheelchair accessible. Combined with a transfer bench, and a shower chair, your shower space will be more accommodating for your senior loved ones. Additionally, seniors with disabilities or conditions such as arthritis can find it painful to lift their legs high enough to get into a traditional shower or tub. A curbless design can prevent pain and discomfort for seniors with severe mobility issues.
Install a Shower Bench
A bench is a popular shower feature that can be a lifesaver for people with mobility or balance impairment and for those with a limited range of motion. If a senior is feeling weak or unstable during a shower, they are at a high risk of falling. Even a minor fall can cause a devastating injury. A built-in shower bench or a removable height adjustable shower bench or chair can significantly improve safety, allowing the user to take their time in the shower, without the fear of falling.
Put in Grab Bars
Grab bars are an excellent option, providing a more accessible bathroom design that will make it easier for an elderly person with balance issues to use a shower. A grab bar can be used to help stabilize a senior if they suddenly feel dizzy or weak and can make it easier for seniors to get in and out of the shower. Grabs bars can be placed in or near the shower and by the toilet, making it easier and safer to move around the bathroom and its many slippery surfaces, preventing dangerous falls.
Shower and Tub Safety Precautions
If you’re concerned that an elderly family member may fall, trip, or slip in your bathroom, taking the proper precautions can improve bathroom accessibility and safety to prevent serious injuries.
Aside from installing a walk-in shower with a curbless design, and adding grab bars and shower chairs or benches, there are some other simple ways you can prevent a fall and improve bathroom safety and accessibility.
Keeping your bathroom organized and clutter-free can make it easier for an elderly family member to move around your bathroom. You can use drawer organizers for the countertops and cabinets, remove larger obstacles such as hampers and magazine racks, and install a towel drying rack to discourage other members of the family from leaving wet towels lying on the floor.
Install a Handheld Shower Head
A handheld shower head will make it easier for seniors to shower, especially if they’re using a shower bench. It also minimizes the need for movement and comes equipped with a variety of settings that users can choose based on personal preference.
A non-slip bath mat inside a shower will give feet traction when the user is moving around. A secured bath mat placed outside the shower can also prevent falls and will give the user a safe, dry place to stand.
Avoid Shower Hazards
Aside from slippery surfaces and water, there are other obstacles in the bathroom that can cause injuries. Seniors have a slower reaction time, reduced visibility, and reduced movement, which makes them more likely to have trouble in bathroom settings. Some common bathroom hazards that can cause a potential injury include:
- Dim lighting
- Unsecured mats
- Water on the bathroom floor
- Sharp corners
- Slick bathroom floor
With simple adjustments, these problems can easily be fixed. However, some solutions, such as installing a curbless walk-in shower, can require bathroom renovations. Whether the changes are small or large, any type of improvement can decrease the risk of an elderly person falling and seriously injuring themself and will make your entire bathroom layout safer and more accessible.
Contact a Top-Rated Shower Door Company to Get a Free Estimate & Schedule a Consultation
If an elderly family member lives with you, it’s important that you make these changes to your bathroom to keep your loved one safe and independent. Installing a custom walk-in curbless shower door will be one of the most important changes you can make. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle this job by yourself. Instead, contact the pros at Wise Glass today to get a quote and schedule a consultation. Our team of experienced glass contractors can design and install a custom shower that’s equipped with all the right safety features to prevent falls and keep your elderly loved one independent and safe. Contact us today to learn more.