The CDC Injury Prevention and Control Center estimates that every one in four elderly persons experiences fall injuries each year. In fact, falls remain the chief reason for fatal accidents among those aged 65 and above, and most falls inside the house happen in the bathroom! Undeniably, bathrooms can be hazardous for elderly people. The majority of falls among the elderly happen when they trip or slip using the bathtub or toilet.
Older folks with balancing or mobility difficulties also fall when leaning on unsteady things to hold themselves up, such as laundry bins, shelves or pipes. So if you’re looking to build a good bathroom for your aging parents, here are nine essential tips for designing a senior-friendly bathroom for an elderly loved one.
Pick Matte-Finished Tiles
Smooth, polished bathroom tiles carry the greatest slipping risk. Conversely, refined stone flooring is a fantastic choice for your aging parents. Natural stone tiles have a non-slip texture and absorb water effectively, reducing their likelihood of falling.
Install Safety Handrails
Safety handrails are a crucial feature for your aging parents’ bathroom. At a minimum, you should have a handrail next to the toilet and sink, one in the shower cubicle, and another in the bathtub.
Ensure the Walkway is Spacious and Easily Accessible
It’s essential to have enough space for wheelchairs or walking aids to move through seamlessly. In addition, it’s paramount to remove any steps that can trip up your elderly loved one. More importantly, emergency entry and egress considerations must be taken into account. An excellent choice is slider doors since they can be quickly dismantled when locked. Door locks should also be simple to remove during emergencies.
Increase Toilet Seat Height
To enable easier sitting and standing, build toilets for your aging parents that are higher than normal. If it’s not possible to rebuild the toilet, consider raising the toilet’s height manually by installing a thicker seat.
Build a Walk-in Bath Cubicle with Detachable Shower Head
The safest choice for your aging parents’ bathroom is a walk-in shower with no steps. This is so they refrain from lifting themselves up and stepping out of a bathtub, which is when most slipping accidents occur! Showering is also considerably simpler with a handheld shower head, particularly if showering assistance is required.
Install a Shower Bench
For elderly individuals with declining muscle strength and mobility issues, having to stand in the shower for an extended period can become really difficult. It’s best to install a high-quality shower bench so they can relax in their shower.
Make Sure There Are No Sharp Corners and Edges
Look for sinks and countertops with curved or smoothed edges so that in the worst-case scenario if your elderly loved one were to fall, they wouldn’t hit themselves on a potentially fatal sharp edge.
Choose Proper Door and Cabinet Handles
Make sure that the handles on all doors and cabinets are wide enough and simple for those with arthritis or restricted mobility to clutch. Swap out all the pulley straps or knob handles.
Provide Height-Appropriate Storage
Crouching down can be extremely tough for your aging parents, so minimize low-hanging cabinets and shelves. Also remove all the cabinet doors underneath the sink bench, as lower-mounted cabinets should have open racks or drawers at least.