Bathrooms and the elderly – how to make your bathroom accessible for everyone
We all use the bathroom every day and when we’re younger, we take for granted how easily we can move from room to room and use the facilities on offer. But as we get older your mobility begins to suffer this can have a knock-on effect with regards to difficulties you might experience when using this particular part of the house.
If you have parents - or grandparents - who are beginning to encounter such problems, then it could be a sign for you to make certain changes to their bathroom to make their lives just that little bit easier.
From simple additions to full-on refurbishments, there is plenty you can do to make this space a more accessible room for people who have difficulty with their movement. Here are some tips to get you started.
Grab bars are one of the easiest features you can incorporate into almost any bathroom, offering extra support for those who may struggle to get out of the bath or off the toilet. Check out this site for more information. You can even find grab bars that are seamlessly disguised as other features you would normally find in a bathroom anyway, with soap dishes, shampoo racks and toilet roll holders all being incorporated into modern designs.
The great thing about these is that they are simple to install and can make a real difference, without requiring a complete rethink of the layout of the room.
If getting in and out of the bath is proving to be too much completely, then replacing it with a walk-in shower could be the most viable option. This way, the person using it doesn't have to worry about lifting themselves in or out of the tub, meaning slips are much less likely to occur.
Is the pathway from the bedroom to the bathroom dark? It’s a good idea to speak with your relative and ask them which parts of the bathroom (and other parts of the house) that they find dark or gloomy. If a bathroom is well lit, then it’s easier for relatives to find certain objects and this will also prevent trips and any potential falls. Use nightlights to create a well-lit path to the bathroom. Having nightlights in the bathroom helps as well.
Non-slip mats: Falls often occur when elders are getting in and out of the tub or shower. Having a non-slip mat on the floor of the shower or tub as well as a non-slip rug on the floor when stepping out of tub or shower (to prevent slipping on wet tiles) helps the elder feel more stable and can reduces slipping.
Routinely removing showers and tubs of soap scum and mildew can reduce the slippery coating that forms as a result of these substances. Also, be sure to avoid clutter in the bathroom to prevent tripping and make sure that all bottles and soaps are in easy reach.