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Improve bathroom safety for older people

Posted: 7/5/2019 12:12 AM by Just Better Care
Improve bathroom safety for older people The bathroom is an especially hazardous room for older Australians.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention conducted research into bathroom safety and found that the risk of falls and other injuries increases dramatically as individuals age.

Consider making these small but significant improvements to your bathroom, to reduce risk of injury or fall in your home or care location.

Increase gripped surfaces
Replace slick flooring with textured material to provide more grip or put down dampened towels to create a "path" for them to use to walk across the room after bathing or showering. You could also use a slip-resistant mat to the bottom of the tub to reduce the risk of falls.

Locate strategically
Move the toilet paper close to the toilet so people do not have to lean. Soap and shampoo should be stored on shelves in the shower that are at strategic, easy-to-reach heights. Keep towels close to the shower to minimize moving around the room when wet.

Eliminate the unnecessary
Decorative pieces may look nice, but they increase bathroom risk. If people slip or otherwise need support, they may reach out for shelving, towel rods and other items that are not designed to bear such weight. Resulting injuries could be incredibly serious. 

Clearly identify water temperature
Use water resistant vinyl, marker, or other material to indicate which handle is for hot water and which is for cold water. Easy identification can help prevent burns, particularly for elderly adults with cognitive functioning decline.

Reduce hard edges
A rubber faucet cover will smooth hard edges and can prevent head or other injuries in case of a slip.

Improve hardware
Consider installing a raised toilet so that it’s easier for people to sit and stand and handrails on either side. Grab bars throughout the room can also help older people balance as they move through the room and in the bath or shower.
In many instances, improving bathroom safety for the older people in your life requires only small investments of time and money and the peace of mind from manageable improvements is crucial to their health and wellbeing.
Just Better Care provides support through personal care, respite and lifestyle support for older Australians and people living with disability.

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