How could something that’s so comforting and soothing, like a nice, warm bath, be one of the biggest dangers to the elderly? The truth is, the combination of slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water create the perfect storm for a fall risk – one of the most serious dangers facing senior citizens.
January is set aside as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great time for both education and assessment to ensure that your or your senior loved ones’ bathroom environments are as safe as possible.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 370 people of all ages suffer tub or shower-related accidents every day in the USA. Because most falls in the house occur in the bathroom, AARP recommends taking the following safety measures:
Install grab bars for the toilet, shower, and bathtub
Install slip-proof tile or use non-skid bath mats
Wipe up any water spills on the floor immediately
Set the temperature of the home's hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid scalds
Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub for seniors who are vulnerable to falling when stepping over the side of the tub
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
It’s also a wise idea to determine whether it might be worthwhile for you or your senior loved-one to make use of a mobile commode, which may be put at the bedside to relieve nighttime restroom needs. Bedside commodes can reduce the danger of night falls, and may even be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to check for when buying a bedside commode:
Simple, basic movable 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 handy bathroom checklist (found at http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/home-improvement/info-05-2010/bathroom_checklist/) with design tips that will help seniors and their families make the best home modification decisions.
We at AAing Better In-Home Care pride ourselves at helping seniors remain safe in their bathrooms, and throughout the rest of the home as well. We provide an in-home safety assessment and recommendations, and by providing expert, hands-on support at bath-time, we help ensure seniors stay safe throughout all of their bathroom needs. And our services are always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for the client's dignity and privacy when assisting folks during their time in the bathroom. Contact us at 208-777-0308 to learn how we can help you or your loved one navigate a potentially challenging environment like the bathroom.