Something so simple as being able to use the bathroom on their own will allow your elderly to age with dignity at a place that they are at. Therefore, designing a bathroom that is not only safe but accessible is the key to making their life better and easier. Making the bathroom accessible for your elderly will not only make them safer but will also help them feel loved and independent.
What people actually don’t know is that falling is actually one of the leading causes of emergency room visits. Unfortunately, the bathroom has the perfect conditions for falling as it is wet and slippery most of the time. On top of that, the overall motion that you need to do in order to get in the tub and out of it is not practical and safe for seniors which makes the bathroom just a dangerous place to be alone in.
When you have a bathroom that doesn’t have a good layout or is simply accessible, it can be a really unsafe environment for seniors to spend time alone in, especially if they have trouble getting around on their own. A bathroom needs to be easy to use, move around in and be equipped with all things they need to stay stable and safe.
More and more scenarios are choosing to remain living at their home instead of going to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. That decision is often made because they would like to hold on to their dignity as well as be as independent as possible. So it is very important that your elderly have a safe bathroom they can maneuver in. In order to provide that, you will have to know how to make such a bathroom, and that is why we have put together a list of things you must know.
Pay Attention To The Dimensions
One of the more important things you need to know when you are creating a bathroom that is accessible for seniors is to know what dimension things need to be in order to be safe. For instance, a door should be at least 34 inches wide so a wheelchair can pass through. You shouldn’t have classic doorknobs you need to have levers as they are much easier to open. Another thing that you should also think about is installing a door as well as making sure that you are leaving at least 27 inches of clearance so the wheelchair can fit under
Make Sure That The Tub Is Accessible
Given all the early measures that it includes, walk-in tubs are the best option for a bathroom that needs to accommodate a sentient. Walk-in tubs will include non-slip floors, a place to sit as well as bars that they can hold on to. Walk-in bathtubs are specially made so that are easier to step into, therefore they are lower to the ground. As there are so many different types of tubs like this, make sure that you include your elderly when you can pick it out if that’s possible. Some will come with a fixed showerhead while some will come with things like whirlpool jets, therefore it is very important to look into what works best for your senior.
Look Into Zero-Threshold Showers
The most important thing when you are looking into showers is that the dimensions are right. You have to make sure that it is at least 5 feet wide and at least 3 feet deep so they can slide into the shower if needed. What zero-threshold means is that there are no curbs so a walker or a wheelchair can easily come into it. Another thing that needs to be taught about it’s that it needs to have trench drains around the perimeter so there is no water where it doesn’t need to be. In addition to that think about adding a hand-held shower head as it is much easier to control. Make sure that the controls are reachable from the wheelchair. Another thing that you need to install in anti-scald wolves. That will ensure that the temperature stays at safe levels and the water pressure does not change. Make sure that you are limiting the water temperature to 120 degrees so they can’t get burnt. Along with that, think about adding a built-in seat so they can take easier showers. But the most crucial thing is that there are non-slip floors so they don’t fall.
Non-slip Flooring Is A Must
When it comes to non-slip flooring your options are endless. If you are working on a tight budget, you can get bath mats or non-skid features. But if your budget allows you, there are so many different tiles and flooring options that are non-slip.
Think About The Hight Of Things
Making small adjustments will do a lot. Ones like lowering the sink or the toilet will make the biggest difference in bathroom comfort levels. Keep in mind that if your elderly use a wheelchair you have to make sure that there is enough space so they can move around.
Always Provide Them With Extra Safety
One of the most important things that you need to do is install a grab bar throughout the bathroom so there is always something stable that they can grab on to. The most important places you should have them is by the bathroom shower, sink and toilet. Basically, they need to be anywhere that they might need to have additional support. It is best to have more of them and have them not be used than not having them when they are needed.
Invest In A Quality Toilet
When you are creating a bathroom one of the most important things that will provide your senior the freedom and independence is having a toilet that they can use completely on their own. Think about installing a smart toilet as it is one of the best things that you can do for your elderly.
Most seniors will have impaired vision some more some less. Therefore you need to make sure that there are no shadows and that the whole bathroom is lit up so they don’t bump into things and trip.
Provide Them with A Seat
As we have mentioned above, it is very important that you provide your elderly with places they can sit and rest while they are doing their thing in the bathroom. Make sure that you are choosing options that have things as neck pillows as well as that they are very sturdy and won’t move around. But it doesn’t always have to be in the shower or bathtub, they can also be in the middle of the bathroom just in case they get tired.
Have a Bathroom Alert System
Even if you designed the worlds best and safest bathroom, it is still possible that there is an accident in it. Because of that, you need to make sure that you have installed an alert system so they can signal you in case of emergency. Always make sure that the alert system can be reached when they are down.
Make Sure They Have Safe Bathroom Access
When you are designing a bathroom you can’t forget the bathroom access. You need to make sure that the bathroom access is safe and that the path is clear without any objects and barriers in front of it. That will prevent them from thinning or bumping into anything when they are on their way there. Make sure that there is enough light even at night time so they can make their way down there safely and easily.
Pay Attention to Doors
As we have briefly mentioned above, you need to make sure that all the doors are wide enough so walkers, as well as wheelchairs, can comfortably fit through the door frame. That means that it should be at least 80 cm wide or 34 inches. Another very important thing is that you don’t install a lock on the door because if they lock the door and get injured you don’t be able to act in time.
Additional Bathroom Safety Tips
Some things that you should keep in mind is that all the essential items should be kept within reach so they don’t have to stand up, climb or reach too high to get them. Think about installing a shower caddy over the shoer so they can easily reach their things. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never have clutter in the showers or vanities as they can easily trump over that or knock things over and create hazards. Make sure that the bathroom is easy on their eyes and there aren’t many glasses that can make them dizzy or disoriented. Think about having a bathroom that is high contrast so everything is clearly visible.
As you can see, bathroom injuries are very common and they will cause very pricey medical bills. It doesn’t matter if you have kids or seniors, having a bathroom that is safe is very important. Even though you can never eliminate the chances of injuries one hundred per cent you can do your best to create the safest environment possible. Now that you have gotten an idea on what a safe bathroom needs, you can get started on creating the best bathroom for your senior. But even though most accidents happen in a bathroom think about making the whole house a safer place for your elderly. Make sure that you involve them in disposition making as much as you can so they feel independent and loved.
Author bio: My name is Grace Wilson. I’m a 27-year-old biotechnologist and kind of a bookish girl. Surfing the Internet is my favourite, that’s why I’ve turned into blogging. Following a healthy mindset and lifestyle is what I consider my life principle. If interested, follow my Twitter.