As our loved ones age, we need to pay more attention to their living situation. Not just in regards to basic health needs or household repairs, but in regards to the living area within the home. From ensuring that doors and drawers open and close correctly, to having the right tools for even simple jobs like opening a can or jar to paying attention to the usage of throw rugs, it is vital that their home be a place of refuge not a place where they cannot enjoy freedom.
There are many ways to make the home safe for those who do not want to relinquish their independence, and many of these actions can be taken or implemented in no time at all. But, perhaps the most dangerous room in the house is the bathroom. Consider these facts from the CDC:
· Persons between 75 and 85 are twice as likely to suffer a nonfatal injury in the bathroom.
· For those over the age of 85, the risk of an injury is four times than that of the average person.
· Nearly 80n% of falls in the home are in the bathroom.
These statistics alone are reasons to do your part to protect the ones you love by being proactive in bathroom safety. So, let’s get started.
· Be sure that frequently used items are within easy reach. This includes items such as shampoo and other shower items.
· Remove items such as throw rugs and replace standard tubs with walk-in tubs or showers with built in seats.
· Install grab bars on the wall(s) near the toilet or add a toilet safety frame with arms that can provide a guide or support when standing or sitting.
· Install sturdy, floor to ceiling pole grab bars for corners or near the tub to make it easier to support one’s self.
· Add automatic nightlights or stick on lights for better visibility.
· Be sure that the water temperature is set correctly. As one ages, our skin becomes thinner and as a result can be burned more easily. Make sure your loved one’s bathroom taps are clearly marked and that water is set no higher than 120 degrees.
· Ben sure tub/shower surfaces are skid proof. Consider using a mat for the entire surface of the tub or shower.
· Be sure that bathrooms are easily accessible from the outside. In the event that your loved one falls, someone needs to be able to get into the room to help them.
By implementing these tips, you can do your part to help your loved one remain independent and safe. Take time to be proactive. Your family will thank you!