For seniors or those dealing with various aging-related physical or mobility issues, as well as their caregivers, the bathroom can be a stressful location. As a primary source of slip-and-fall risks, plus an area that requires some privacy and independence, various bathroom concerns can be prominent for you or a loved one.
At Cozy Retire, our assisted living services include a number of bathroom safety elements in place, plus staff who are dedicated to helping in this area. A regular task for our staff members is to perform a bathroom safety check to ensure there are no risks present for you or your loved one – if you’re a caregiver for a senior still living at home, you can use this same checklist to accomplish the same thing at home. Here are some of the primary areas to consider.
Space and Access
- Is the doorway wide enough for a wheelchair or walker to be brought in if needed?
- Does the bathroom door open outward or inward? Outward and pocket doors are the best options for seniors, as they allow caregivers to access the room quickly in case of an emergency.
- Is the toilet at an easy height for your loved one to sit and stand?
Is the shower step-free, allowing seniors to step directly in rather than stepping over a taller bathtub?
Does the shower have a nonslip surface installed? If not, consider floor mats or other nonslip devices.
Are bathroom floors in general slippery? If so, consider installing nonskid surfaces.
- Are there nightlights in hallways and the area leading to the bathroom? Many seniors need to use the bathroom at night, and these prevent slip or fall risks.
- Is the bathroom brightly lit, with easily accessible switches? Switches should have light-up identifiers so seniors can find them in the dark.
Reach and Physical Capabilities
- Can your loved one stand alone in the shower? If not, consider a bench or chair.
- Are knobs, handles and faucets located in places where seniors can reach and easily use them? This is particularly relevant if your loved one has a condition like arthritis.
- Can the showerhead be accessed easily from a seated position?
- Can all frequently used items be reached easily?
- Are there grab bars present in areas where your loved one may need help standing or sitting?
Other Safety Concerns
- Is the shower door made of safety glass or plastic? If not, consider installing one of these materials so your loved one is not injured if they fall against the surface and break the material.
- Does the bathroom have GFCI outlets to prevent shock risks?
- Is the water heater set to a safe temperature? Never over 120 degrees, as this risks a heat-related injury.
For more on keeping a senior loved one safe in the bathroom, or to learn about any of our senior living services, speak to the staff at Cozy Retire today.