Studies have shown that many seniors experience falls in the bathroom, where moisture and humidity can make the floors slippery and moving around is more difficult. If you haven't yet made any changes to your relative's bathroom to make it safer and easier to use, it might be time to get the ball rolling. Here are several updates to keep in mind.
1. Consider a walk-in shower stall. Seniors will have less difficulty walking into a shower than they will getting into a bathtub. Make sure the step isn't too large and have a seat put in so your loved one can rest when necessary. Grab bars on the walls are also important.
2. Invest in a countertop medicine cabinet. If you and your relative have a lot of prescriptions to keep track of, easy access is key. With a medicine cabinet on the countertop, your loved one won't have to reach high up to get his or her medications, and seeing the labels will be much easier.
3. Get a taller toilet. It's difficult for many seniors to get back up from a sitting position, and it's even harder if this seat is considerably low to the ground. Buy a new toilet that's taller with an elevated seat that your loved one can easily get out of.
4. Make the bathtub safer. You can get tubs with doors built into the side that shut with a water-tight seal but allow your relative to walk right in when open. Make sure there are grab bars and put non-skid strips on the bottom so your loved one's feet can have grip on the slippery surface.
5. Upgrade the light fixtures. Seniors often have trouble with vision, which means it's imperative to provide plenty of adequate lighting. Fluorescent lighting is your best bet, as it's the brightest. Install an overhead fixture, as well as fixtures flanking the bathroom vanity and over the shower or tub.
Just in case, you should also invest in a medical alert system from Bay Alarm. If your loved one ever experiences a fall in the bathroom despite your efforts to make it safer, he or she will be able to use the medical alarm to contact help immediately. It's a great way to provide both of you with peace of mind.