While it is conceivable to grow old long and healthy, it remains essential to provide it with key elements for optimal safety in the comfort of your own home.
In this respect, the figures confirm the importance of increased safety in the bathroom for the elderly. According to the Canadian Public Health Agency, 20% to 30% of seniors are victims of falls. The same statistics have raised that the bathroom remains one of the places where the risk of falling is drastically increased.
Fortunately, several bathroom aids are available on the market and are adapted to the reality of elderly people with a loss of autonomy. The main objective is to prevent falls, but also to reduce the stress load related to the possibility of falling, allowing you to perform your tasks and move around the room in comfort and confidence.
How to adapt a bathroom?
First of all, it’s important to understand that many activities in the bathroom are subject to the risk of falling. Therefore, different areas of this room have to be considered in our approach. Here are a few tips and examples of adapted equipment, depending on the context and location.
In the bathroom and on the toilet
- The raised toilet seat: The gain in height provided by this raised seat makes it easy for the person to get up from the toilet. Therefore, the risk of falling is considerably reduced.
- The grab bar near the toilet bowl: For maximum safety, install a grab bar near the toilet bowl so that the person can hang on to it while getting up from the toilet.
- A lighted space: It is important to think about proper lighting at all times, both in the bathroom and on the way to it. For example, the corridor that connects the bedroom to the bathroom should be adequately lit at night. The light in the bathroom should not be blinding, otherwise, the person may close their eyes, increasing the risk of falling. Additionally, the light switch should be visible and easily accessible.
- A space-free of obstacles: The space in the bathroom and the house must allow you to walk around freely without any obstacle to walking. For example, it’s a good idea to fix electrical wires to the wall, remove door sills, and avoid small pieces of low furniture that could be tripped over.
Bathing: before, during and after
- Bathtub entrance mat: A wide mat with an anti-slip underneath is sufficient to give the feet solid support. However, make sure that when wet, the surface of the mat remains safe (that it does not slip).
- Wall grab bar: Grab bars on the wall are important for both getting in and out of the bath. Choose bars with a non-slip, rust protected surface. Above all, check with the user that he or she finds comfort and stability. Follow all the installation or verification steps of the product supplier for optimal safety.
- Anti-slip for the inside of the bathtub: The bottom of the bathtub or shower must be non-slip. On the market, there are adaptable mats and liquids that can be applied directly to the bottom of the bathtub to create a permanent anti-slip effect.
- The telephone shower: For elderly people who always shower with ease, the telephone shower makes it possible to avoid having to turn around to rinse with the water jet, as in an ordinary shower.
- A bath seat or bench: This type of seating provides the elderly person with comfort when bathing. Also, since it’s raised, it’s easier for the elderly person to get up and exit.
- The electric bath chair: For people with advanced loss of autonomy, the electric bath chair is a must. In this case, it is the natural caregiver who takes charge of managing the person being cared for during the bathing period. The natural caregiver can ask a professional for more details about possible solutions and the best procedure to follow.
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