Bathroom Safety Guide: Senior Edition

One of the most common questions we receive from people looking at performing modifications to their bathroom is, “How can I make my shower safe for seniors?”

We put together this brief guide for people looking for bathroom modifications for the elderly relatives in their lives. Here, you’ll find a wide range of modifications and improvements ranging from simple to complex that will improve their safety and quality of life.

Take a look at the following suggestions:

  • Remove or secure rugs: Rugs tend to be a tripping hazard, especially if they’re not properly secured to the floor. Either add adhesive on the bottom to prevent them from bunching up or remove them altogether to ensure they don’t become a safety concern.
  • Install nightlights: Many slips and falls in the bathroom happen because of insufficient lighting. Add an automatic LED nightlight that will keep elderly relatives safe while they are using the bathroom at night.
  • Simple storage: Either add new storage units, or adjust the ones you currently have to ensure all regularly-used toiletries are in a single location. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, medication and other frequently-used items. They should be easy to access and kept together to prevent an unnecessary amount of searching the room that could lead to a fall.
  • Use bath mats: Place bath mats in showers and tubs to prevent slipping on wet surfaces. The textured surface provides more friction for people using the facility.
  • Install safety rails: Safety rails around the bathroom can help provide extra stability for people with mobility issues. They can be used on the sides of tubs for stepping into or out of them or in showers to give people something to grab on to, so they can secure themselves.
  • Shower seats: You can add seats into the shower to give a comfortable place to sit and rest for people who have balance or mobility issues or for people who tire out quickly and can no longer stand for the entire duration of a shower. These seats can come with or without back support and can be designed to swivel to assist the process of getting into or out of a tub or shower.
  • Handheld shower sprayers: Handheld sprayers make it easier for people to use a shower while sitting down, and they provide an on and off switch to give the user control without needing to reach for the faucet.
  • Raised toilet seats: Raised toilet seats make sitting and standing easier for people with knee problems. They are easy to install and can offer additional padding and armrests if desired.
  • Toilet safety rails: Much like grab bars for bathtubs and showers, toilet safety rails provide users with more leverage and something to grab on to while lowering themselves on to or raising themselves off of the toilet.

For more information about how you can rework your bathroom space to be more senior-friendly and the specific bathroom modifications for the elderly you should look into, contact us at Penn York Medical.