Keeping Bathroom Safety a Priority in Honor of National Bath Safety Month
How could something that’s so comforting and soothing, like a nice, warm bath, be one of the biggest dangers to older adults? The truth is, combining smooth surfaces, slippery soap and hot water create the perfect storm for a fall danger – one of the most severe risks to aging adults.
January is designated as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great chance for both education and assessment to ensure the utmost bathroom safety for your senior loved ones.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 370 people of all ages suffer bathtub or shower-related injuries each day in the United States. Because most falls in the house take place in the bathroom, AARP recommends taking the following precautions:
- Install grab bars for the toilet, shower, and bathtub
- Install non-skid tile or use non-skid bath mats
- Set the temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees F or less to prevent scalds
- Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub if vulnerable to falling when stepping over the tub wall
- Provide a bath chair to enable bathers to sit while bathing
- Apply no-slip strips to the bathtub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
- Wipe up any water spills on the floor as soon as possible
It’s also a good decision to consider picking up a mobile commode for the senior, which can be placed at bedside to relieve nighttime restroom needs. Bedside commodes can reduce the chance of evening falls, and can additionally be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to check for when purchasing a commode:
- Non-removable armrests
- Rubber tips on the legs instead of wheels
- A sturdy frame
- Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)
Simple, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as much as $3,000.
AARP also provides a beneficial bathroom safety checklist with design directions which will help seniors and their families make the most appropriate home modification decisions.
Hired Hands Homecare in California can also help with bathroom safety for older adults. We can provide an in-home safety evaluation and guidelines, and by providing expert, hands-on help at bathtime, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs – always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at 866-940-4343 for more information on how we help care for seniors at home.