If you have an elderly relative living with you or a senior visiting your home regularly, you know that bathrooms represent some serious risks. As we age, it can become much more challenging to navigate in smaller spaces. And when you add in the inherent risk of wet, slippery surfaces, it can create a scary environment for your older loved ones. But there are several simple tips that you can follow to make your bathroom less difficult for older friends and family members and create some peace of mind for you.
Add A Seat
Standing in the shower or tub is something that we take for granted. But as you get older, that simple task can become very difficult and dangerous. Adding something as simple as a bench or other type of seat can remove a significant amount of risk and allow your older guests to feel safer and more independent. You have many choices, from freestanding chairs to built-ins or folding models. Some even extend to the bathtub side to make it safer to enter and exit the tub.
Provide A Safe Hand Hold
Towel bars and built-in soap dish handles are not meant to be used as safety grab bars. However, when someone is falling, they often grab for these devices for assistance. Unfortunately, these bars can’t handle the stress or weight, and the elderly guest ends up falling. This can be very dangerous for your guest and upsetting for you. The simple solution is to install legitimate safety grab bars to offer secure support when entering and exiting the shower or tub.
While most toilet seat heights are relatively standard, elevated models are designed to be easier for a senior citizen to use independently. They add about three to four inches to the height of the seat to reduce the difficulty elevating. And with a safety grab bar nearby, your guests will have no worries when using your senior-friendly bathroom.
While you might enjoy the soft feel of a rug under your bare feet, it could become a hazard if you have older guests. The transition of the walking surface might only be a fraction of an inch, but it can be a tripping hazard for an older person. Anyone who has difficulty walking or picking up his or her feet could get a toe caught on your rug and take a nasty tumble. Considering the limited space and multiple hard surfaces in most bathrooms, the result can be a catastrophe. If you place anything on the floor of your bathroom, make it is non-slip mat at the edge of the tub or shower and possibly one at the toilet or sink for added safety in potentially wet areas.
Reset Your Water Heater
Unless you have small children in your home, you might not even think about the temperature setting on your water heater. You are careful about testing the water before bathing, and that is enough. However, you should be aware that our skin becomes more delicate as we age. And what is fine for you could burn an older adult’s skin. Even a slight fluctuation could result in a burn or a fall from the sudden shock of overly hot water. Never exceed 120 degrees with your water heater thermostat for added safety for everyone in your household, from children to seniors.
To learn more about making your bathroom as senior citizen-friendly as possible, call (818) 918-6297. The licensed plumbers at Turbo Plumbing & Rooter can provide you with information about great products and tips to keep your loved ones safe when visiting your home.