The Bathroom is one of the most personal and private rooms in the home. It is the one room that after we enter we close the door and are usually alone. It is also one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. It is lined by hard tiles, hard countertops, hard water fixtures and hard toilets that can pose a significant injury risk during a fall. And when we add water into the mix, it becomes even more dangerous.
Many older adults may be having difficulty in this room and be too embarrassed to ask for help. But this could mean the difference between not being able to participate in everyday activities or sustaining an injury due to falling, and facilitating successful bathroom function and movement
Modifying the bathroom environment can make a huge difference in your quality of life. The following are 7 fairly inexpensive and effective ways to improve bathroom safety.
1. Raised Toilet Seat
This is a relatively inexpensive addition that is secured on top of your existing toilet. The elevated seat surface makes it easier to sit and stand. Some come with handles that you can push off of to make standing and sitting even easier.
2. Long Handled Wipe Aids or Bidet Attachment
A long Handled Wipe Aid is basically a wand in which you can secure toilet paper to, in order to provide extra reach when wiping. A Bidet Attachment attaches to your toilet and provides a stream of water to allow you to wash after you go. P.S. you will still need toilet paper to dry. If you are having difficulty reaching back to wipe yourself after you go, these items can help.
3. Grab Bars or Handles for Toilet and Shower
Grab bars and handles are strategically attached to your walls and provide a handhold to help with going from sit to stand or simply allow you to hold onto something to steady yourself during transitional movements. They can also help when stepping in and out of the shower.
4. Shower Chair or Transfer Tub Bench
Many older adults cannot stand for long enough to complete showering. A Shower Chair simply provides a surface for you to sit and wash yourself. A transfer tub bench extends outside of the tub and allows you to sit and swing your legs into the tub instead of standing and stepping in. This is useful for those who find it difficult to step in and out of the bathtub while standing.
5. Handheld Shower Head and Adjustable Bar for Placement of Shower Head
A Handheld Shower Head is attached to the pipe in your shower or bath and allows for you to hold it and precisely direct the water. An Adjustable Bar for Placement of the Shower Head is a bar that you can secure the handheld shower head to at different heights and positions. Both of these devices are useful if taking a shower while seated and especially if reaching up high or bending is difficult.
6. Soap On a Rope
As its name describes, this is soap that is attached to rope that you can place on your shoulders or wrap around your wrist. It decreases the risk of dropping it on the floor and having to bend down to pick it up.
7. Long Handled Wash Scrub
This is a wand with a Sponge attached to it that allows you to soap and scrub those hard to reach places. It is also useful to help you reach your lower legs while seated or standing, if bending is difficult.
P.S. And it goes without saying that you should have a non-slip mat in your shower or tub.
Not sure where to start? Merge Rehabilitation can help. We offer Physical Therapy in the convenience of your home to help keep you active and mobile to maintain function & independence. Servicing Croton-On-Hudson, NY and Surrounding Areas.