Bathroom Safety Tips for the Elderly

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We all like to think of our homes as harbors of safety and security. But the truth is there are dangers lurking about in our homes. Death from unintentional accidents that take place in the house account for being the second most common location -behind injuries on the road- of such fatalities. We all get older and when your loved one reaches an advanced age it’s normal to start worrying a bit about their safety.  The truth is that as we age those dangers become more prominent. But homeowners can take steps to reduce these types of risks and unintentional home deaths and injuries.

 

Install Grab Bars – Falls are one of the most prevalent causes of injury to the elderly. Because you’re falling on a hard, unforgiving surface, a fall in the bathroom can result in a more severe injury.  Installing grab bars in the tub and shower might seem unpleasant or make your bathroom ugly to you but it will help prevent what might be otherwise severe injuries to your older loved one. More recent models of grab bars are designed to complement other items in your bathroom so they don’t present such a deterring look.

Skid Proof It – There are a large number of anti-slip or skid-proof surfaces available for the bath and shower. Keep in mind that small stick-ons don’t cover the floor so you’ll either need to get a ton of those or install a mat.

Keep A Key – We all want our privacy in the bathroom but if your loved one has a fall or needs help and the door is locked you’re in for battle getting in and time can be of the essence. Many door handles come with a curved key that will unlock the door from the outside. Install one of these and keep the key on the top of the door frame or some other place you can easily access it when needed.

Emulate Motel 6 – You might remember some of the motel 6 ads where they say “We’ll keep a light on for ya”.  It’s kind of comforting and at the same time if you do it at home it’s safer.  Dim lighting leads to disorientation and can lead to accidents. A safe bathroom will have lighting that is bright enough to give good visibility and orientation thus preventing a misstep.

Set the Water Heater – Have you ever turned on the hot water faucet and it came out way hotter than you anticipated?  Not only can the hot water injure you but it can startle you enough to make you jump out of the way of it and possibly slip and fall.  You can adjust the temperature by adjusting your hot water heater temperature setting. There is a knob on most hot water heaters allowing you to do this. Simply set it to 120 degrees or less.

Caring for your elderly means looking out for potential risks and taking steps to reduce them. Our aging population is staying at home longer than previous generations and with unintentional accidents causing injuries and deaths you can follow some of these recommendations to reduce those risks and make the bathroom a safer place for your elderly.

August 2019
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