If you are currently looking after an elderly loved one, one of your main priorities will always be keeping them safe. It can be difficult to allow them the freedom to be independent, as you may spend a lot of time worrying about them, however even if this is the case there are things that you can do to make their home much safer, meaning that there is much less chance that they would have an accident. If you have been thinking about making changes to their property recently, then one thing that you could start with is the bathroom. This is where a lot of accidents occur, and it can be dangerous to move around this room thanks to the fact that water can make things slippery. With this in mind, we have put together some ideas about things that you can do if you are undertaking a bathroom makeover, to make things much easier for your elderly relative.
Consider lever taps
Often in later years, gripping can be difficult, and this means that it can be far too much of a challenge to turn taps on and off. To help with this, a lever tap is the ideal option. This means that your relative can simply push the lever to start or stop the water, and this can make the whole process a lot easier than it would have been in the past. In addition to this, you also have the option of a foot lever, which can be helpful if your loved one is unable to reach far enough to get to the other side of the sink. It is a good idea to talk to a professional installer about this, as there are lots of options that you could choose from.
Add a detachable shower head
If your loved one is unable to stand for long periods of time, it can be dangerous for them to try to take a shower, as there is a chance that there could be an injury. Instead, a detachable shower head could be the ideal solution, as this means that it can be placed somewhere that your loved one can reach, and then held in their hand for the duration of the shower. This gives them the option to sit down if needed, while still being in full control of the shower head, which means that the whole process will be much safer than it otherwise might have been.
Install rails and grab bars
Walking around a bathroom isn’t always easy if you have mobility issues, however this can be helped if there is something to grab onto along the way. Rails and grab bars are the best choice in this respect, as it means that you will be able to have the peace of mind that your loved one can navigate the space safely. It is a good idea to ask a professional to come and carry out an assessment with your loved one, and observe them walking around the bathroom for a short time. This means that they can then suggest the best positions for the bars, so that you are certain that they will be in exactly the right place once the job is complete.
Change the toilet to be higher
Mobility issues mean that it can be difficult to raise and lower yourself onto surfaces, and this includes the toilet. Although you can buy attachments for your toilet which can mean that it is a little higher, if you are redoing the entire bathroom it makes sense to invest in a higher toilet. This is perfect, as it means that your loved one won’t need to lower themselves down as far, and this is something that could therefore reduce the chance of accidents. This can also make the whole process of using the toilet less stressful, therefore giving your loved one more confidence in this area.
Use thick rugs or lino for the flooring
This is a tip that is more for the benefit of the carer than the resident. Over time, you may find that your loved one simply cannot bathe themselves anymore, and this will mean that they will need some help from those they love. Much of the time, this will include spending time kneeling on the floor, and if this is the case you will want it to be comfortable. Adding a small touch such as cushioned flooring during the redesign of the bathroom will make things much easier further down the line, if you ever need to provide this kind of care for your loved one.
Make sure that everything you put down is non slip
Most bath tubs have many opportunities for slipping, however there are things that you can buy which will help with this. There are excellent options available when it comes to non slip bath and shower mats, and simply adding one of these to the bathroom can mean that the likelihood of slipping is much lower. Depending on the flooring that you have in the bathroom, it may also be a good idea to add a non slip mat outside of the tub, as this means that there will be a much lesser chance of accidents while climbing out of the bath or shower.
Try to choose a bath or shower with no step up
Many elderly people are unable to navigate steps safely, and this can be a problem in situations where they need to climb over things, such as when getting into or out of a bath. To help with this, a walk in bath could be an ideal solution. This means that there isn’t a large step over the side into the bath, and it can therefore make things much easier. There is also the option of a wet room setup, which means that there is nothing to climb over at all, as everything will be on one level. Depending on the requirements of your loved one, this could be a very beneficial option, and certainly one that is more than worth considering.
The main thing to do when planning a bathroom is to take the time to consider exactly how it is going to be used. This means that you can imagine it from the position of your loved one, and this will give you the best possible ideas when it comes to the design of the room. Spending the time thinking about changes that can be made is incredibly beneficial, and there is no doubt that it will help to put your mind at rest about the safety of your loved one.