Monday, November 21, 2011

Bathroom Safety For Seniors

The main concern in seniors interested in aging in place is their safety.  It is important for us as caregivers to research safety modifications to improve the safety in each room that they will be using.  Bathroom safety is of utmost importance.  The bathroom is the room in a home in which most accidents occur.  With this in mind it is important to realize the odds increase for an accident when seniors are involved.  The lack of balance and slower motor skills increases the odds ten-fold for an accident to occur.  Thankfully there are many options to increase the safety for loved ones while allowing them to age in place.
Most modifications in the bathroom can be done with just a bit of forward thinking.  Many home modification companies exist to make sure age in place modifications are done correctly. The important part of the equation is to look at the space, evaluate the changes that need to be put in place and upgrade the space to create the most efficient, hazard free space possible for your loved one.
Safety modifications can be done to fit all budgets and safety needs.  Needs may arise slowly and can be addressed as they come up while other situations will require a complete overhaul from the start.  An evaluation will determine the needs of your loved ones in comparison with the space.  This way a plan can be drawn up in order to create a safe and sufficient space. As your loved one ages it is in their best interest to start adding remodeling that favors aging in place.  This is a suggestion to broach with compassion, care and understanding.  Many older loved ones don’t like to face the fact they are aging and might eventually not have the mobility they see in themselves currently.
Some simple safety modifications are;
·         Extra lighting is always a good investment.  It is especially important at night when visibility is low.  Motion lighting is readily available and is helpful for those using walkers who are using their hands to maneuver.
·         Rugs are incredibly common in bathrooms.  For people who are aging they are incredibly dangerous and easy to get caught up in.  Remove them for their safety.  Use an anti-slip mat for the exit of the shower to avoid slipping on tile.  A texture tile is now available and can help prevent the slick surfaces that tile normally represent.
·         Faucets are another area of concern.  Make sure to remove hard to turn faucets in favor of levered ones.  It is also incredibly important to purchase faucets that clearly mark hot and cold.  Many bathroom accidents occur from scalding.  In providing bathroom safety for a senior it is also necessary to check the temperature on the hot water tank.
·         Original toilets can be modified with the addition of a portable high rise seat.  If more permanent modifications can be done it is advisable.  Higher rising toilets can be bought and installed.  Adding safety grab bars to the side and front of the toilet area helps seniors gain their balance.
·         Tub and shower safety is incredibly important.  There are several temporary modifications that can be used and many permanent ones as well.  If the situation calls for budget friendly, temporary solutions tub chairs, transfer benches and grab bars can be installed to promote a safe entrance and exit from the tub.  If more permanent renovations can be done it would be wise to invest in a barrier free entry tub or shower. 
It is easy to enter into a new situation and go overboard with modifications that are unnecessary.  This is why it is important to contact an accessible alterations company to evaluate the situation and recommend necessary adjustments to the area.  This is true for all areas of the home and especially important in the bathroom where many hazards exist for loved ones. 

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