When you have a loved one who has issues with health and mobility, you will know just how important it is for them to be able to stay as independent as possible, while also staying safe within their own home. With this in mind, you may wish to try and adapt certain parts of their home to make it easier for them to use, and the bathroom is a place where it is good to start. Even in young, able bodied people, the bathroom can be one of the most dangerous places in the home, but luckily there are some sensible adaptations that can be made in order to make it a safer place to be for your elderly relative.
Think about the bath/shower arrangements
Washing is important, and most people will want to be able to wash unaided for as long as possible. With this in mind, thinking about the bath or shower that you have in the bathroom is key. The adaptation that is best will depend on the actual level of disability, but there are options such as seats for the bath, walk-in baths, and even turning the room into a wet room, which would mean that there would be nothing to step over.
Make sure there is plenty to grab
Balance is hugely important, and this means that your loved one should always feel as though they are able to navigate the bathroom safely. Grab bars are good, as they can be used to stay steady while walking, and also to push up out of the bath or from on the toilet. It is key that you include your loved one in these arrangements, as they will need to be placed at the perfect height for their requirements in order to make it as safe as possible for them.
Consider a raised toilet
Often, lowering down onto the toilet is something that can be a challenge. Simply changing the toilet to one that is a little higher can help with this, as there isn’t as far to sit down, or to stand up again afterwards. If you cannot have the entire toilet replaced, then there are attachments that you can buy that allow a raised seat. This will make things a lot easier, and can help to reduce the likelihood of falls.
Check the accessibility of the sink
Whereas the toilet may need to be higher, if your loved one is in a wheelchair, the sink could be lowered to allow easier access. If they are able to transfer from a wheelchair to a chair then having a chair to sit on at the sink could be a good way to make it easier to have a wash and brush teeth, but it is important that your loved one doesn’t have to stand at the sink for a large period of time, or try to reach a higher sink from their wheelchair, as this could cause accidents.
One of the main things that you should do is put yourself in the position of your loved one, and take the time to imagine what it would be like to use the bathroom if you were disabled or elderly. This is a good way to think about what might need to be changed, and your loved one is sure to find things much easier thanks to the effort that you have put into this thought process.