One of the main concerns for allowing an elderly loved one to stay at home is safety. Mobility issues can lead to accidents doing daily tasks in the house. The bathroom is of particular concern, but there are a few modifications you can make to your elderly family member’s washroom to ensure its safety so they can maintain their independence. There are a few simple changes, as well as some bathroom renovation suggestions that will make the bathroom both safer and more comfortable for your loved one. Changes you make will depend on their specific needs, particularly if a mobility-aid needs to be accommodated, or if there is chance of one in the future and you would like to be prepared.
- Improve the lighting – this is the simplest modification that will lower the chance of accident. Increasing the wattage or adding extra lighting will be great aid. Using a motion sensor light, or even a nightlight, will help them find their way if it is dark.
- Shower or bath – This is a major area of falls, and usually the first major renovation you will make in caring for an elderly loved one at home. Increasing shower space and installing plenty of handrails, and a bench or chair in the shower will make it possible to easily shower independently for most patients. A detachable shower head will make the shower more comfortable as well. Elimination of any steps, as well as railings that could be tripped on or limit wheelchair access, will be more major changes you should look at. The floor in your washroom should slope towards the drain to decrease chance of slipping.
- Sink – Consider mounting the sink at waist-height for your elderly loved one. For taller individuals especially, reducing bending will make the washroom considerably more comfortable. If your loved one uses a scooter, consider lowering the sink.
- Toilets – Raising the standard height by 2” can help make the toilet more comfortable and accessible. This is another area to install more handrails.
- An emergency alert – Installing an emergency alert may be something you or your professional caregiver would be more comfortable with to ensure your elderly patient’s safety. You can find simple electronic systems, or if you don’t want to invest just yet, place a bell in the shower and by the toilet so if your loved one needs assistance they don’t have to rely on calling out to their caregiver.
If you are considering renovating your bathroom but are unsure exactly where to go and what to invest in, contact a professional caregiver for assistance. A professional caregiver is equipped to make recommendations and assist in ensuring your home will be safe and comfortable, so your loved one can continue to live at home.