As people age, the bathroom presents potential hazards and risks to your physical well-being. And January is Bath Safety Month, so it is the perfect time to offer bathroom safety tips.
Older adults and people with certain medical conditions have a higher risk of falling or tripping. This can result in broken bones or more serious injuries. The bathroom is a place in the home where falls often happen. Making changes in your bathroom helps lower the risk of falling.
Bath or Shower
To protect yourself or a loved one when taking a bath or shower, consider the following:
- Put non-slip suction mats or rubber silicone decals in the bottom of your tub to prevent falls.
- Use a non-skid bath mat outside the tub for firm footing.
- If you do not already have one, install a single lever on your faucet to mix hot and cold water together.
- Sit on a bath chair or bench when taking a shower.
- Keep the floor outside the tub or shower dry.
Safety Bars for the Bath and Toilet
- You may need to have safety bars in your bathroom. These grab bars should be secured vertically or horizontally to the wall.
- Do not use towel racks as grab bars.
- You will most likely need two grab bars: one to help you get in and out of the tub and another to help you stand from a sitting position.
Bathroom Safety – Caregiving for Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s
Helping someone with Alzheimer’s disease take a bath or shower can be one of the hardest things you do. Planning can help make bath time better for both of you. If the person is afraid of bathing, follow their lifelong bathing habits, such as taking a bath or shower in the morning or before going to bed.
To keep the person with Alzheimer’s safe during bath time:
- Never leave a confused or frail person alone in the tub or shower.
- Always check the water temperature before they get in the tub or shower.
- Use a hand-held showerhead.
- Use a rubber bath mat and safety bars in the tub.
- Use a sturdy shower chair to support a person who is unsteady and to prevent falls.
During a Bath or Shower
Allow the person with Alzheimer’s to do as much as possible. This protects their dignity and helps the person feel more in control. Here are other tips to consider:
- Put a towel over the person’s shoulders or lap. This helps them feel less exposed. Then, use a sponge or washcloth to clean under the towel.
- Distract the person by talking about something else if they become upset.
- Give the person a washcloth to hold for comfort and safety.