According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every blessed year, more than 220,000 persons visit the ER or are brought in helpless because of a bathroom accident.
However, what is shocking is that while this figure cover all age groups, more than two third of those affected are Seniors, especially, the elderly.
This, in the light of the data above, calls for safer bathrooms and toilets that are especially friendly to the Senior population, hence our Smart safety tips to make bathrooms and toilets more Senior friendly.
However, before we proceed to the meat of the article proper, let’s see why Seniors and the elderly need bathrooms and special toilets that are friendly to them in the first place.
Why Seniors And The Elderly Need Special Bathrooms That Are Friendly To Them
If you’re not a Senior or an elderly person yourself, you may genuinely wonder why this special class of persons need bathrooms and toilets that are very friendly to them.
This is normal, especially of caregivers and relatives who happen to share an apartment with Senior citizens.
If you’re thus in the categories above and are wondering why the elderly and Senior around you need a special bathroom, this section should clear you in the smartest of manners possible.
Falls are pretty common in the bathroom where Seniors frequent.
While this challenge has been attributed to a lot of reasons, the basic fact and gospel truth remains that, such falls can easily be prevented in the first place if proper measures are taken against such.
A bathroom that is thus friendly to the Senior population tackles this issue in the most brilliant manner possible.
ii. Failing Eyesight
Closely related to the point above is the issue of failing eyesight in the aged.
Everyone, we are certain, already know that past the age of 50, the eyesight of humans begin to fail. This progresses and becomes worse as the years add up.
With this challenge present with the elderly, it only makes sense that they are understood in the light of such challenges and proper provision made to accommodate such by means of the provision of special bathrooms that are tolerant of such challenges or the modification of existing ones to cater for such natural changes in the human body.
iii. Reduced Stamina
Age is something that is priceless.
However, to wear that crown of gray that only age affords, one must be willing to pay the price – and this, often, is hefty.
For many, this price is the loss of stamina or the reality of frailty.
With this loss of balance, reduced stamina or the supreme reality of frailty, an elderly person is all of a sudden fragile – and prone to all manner of challenges when visiting an otherwise non-challenging place like the toilet or bathroom.
iv. Less Than Ideal Eye-Hand Coordination
The bathroom is a place where a lot of hand-eye coordination takes place (and is needed).
Unfortunately, this ability reduces as we all age and Seniors are not especially known for being an exception when it comes to this reality.
To make things easy for them therefore and prevent an accident from occurring, the smartest thing to do is to make certain that the bathroom to be used by Seniors and the elderly is simplified in such a manner that the tasks requiring such coordination are either reduced or completely eliminated.
This is the only way to ensure that the bathroom remains a place of fun and an avenue for complete rejuvenation even for those who age is no longer on their side.
v. Slowness Of Reaction
Finally, the 5th point why the aged and Seniors require special modifications to their bathrooms or to put it simply, bathrooms that are friendly to them is the singular fact that they react slowly, when compared to other age groups.
This is not their fault though: it is extremely difficult on the part of the Senior and completely insensitive of anyone expecting any extremely swift reaction from the aged.
A well thought out bathroom is accordingly, the bridge to this situation and the only way out – that is, if Seniors and the elderly are going to benefit.
Now that we’ve shown why bathrooms that are Senior friendly are of the essence as one ages, how on earth are you supposed to ensure that your bathrooms and toilet are friendly to the aged population?
These 10 tips will put you on the right track.
10 Smart Safety Tips To Help Make A Bathroom Senior & Elderly Friendly
1. Make The Floors Proper (Or Get Good Bath Mats & Rugs)
By far, the floors of a bathroom (and toilet – where they are distinct or separated) is the biggest concern when the Senior population is involved.
And, this is so for very good reason too.
Almost half of the challenges that Seniors or the elderly have when attempting to shower emanate from either bathroom or toilet floors that are plain slippery or at best, floors that leave much to be desired.
The best thing to do in this instance is to ensure that the floors are properly constructed and kept clean – so that they will not wind up accumulating algae, slime or any other thing that will prove slippery.
However, in the event that this is not easy – or outrightly impossible, the next best option is to see that proper bath mats or rugs suited for the elderly are deployed.
These rugs – or mats will provide the needed traction to ensure that aged feet stay firmly on the ground even if the surroundings are wet or plain slippery.
2. Install Senior Friendly Bathtubs
Bathtubs are an awesome way of ensuring that the shower is thoroughly enjoyed in safety – and supreme comfort.
However, at a certain age, the traditional bathtub that once held so much appeal and practical value becomes a liability and a constant source of accident and fear.
This is when it is smart to consider installing a special senior friendly bathtub.
With special depths (that ensure that the elderly users don’t risk dangerous immersion), special anti-slip flooring, impressive layout and an easy to clean interface, these tubs are certainly what the average Senior or elderly person needs to stay out of bathroom mishaps while still enjoying a bath as if nothing has changed – age wise 🙂
3. Provision Of Super Clear Lightening
Age and poor eyesight go together – and it is almost impossible to separate them. This, we’re pretty sure, you already well know.
However, there is something else that we wish to bring to your knowledge – something that we’re certain that you also well know: you, ordinarily, should not take your glasses to the bathroom 🙂
Without your glasses (or second eyes as we love to call them), you’re all natural and prone to accidents that may occur as a result of poor eyesight.
To avoid this (completely) or at least minimize it to the barest minimum, it is very important to make certain that lightening in the bathroom and toilet areas is bright enough to facilitate easy entrance, navigation and exit.
It is also very important that the bulbs that powers such a place as the toilet or bathroom should be as clear as possible and not colored in any manner – as the occasion demands.
However, it is best to ensure that the window(s) to the bathrooms and toilets are also opened and actually supplement the rays from the artificial bulbs installed therein.
4. Ensure That Your Toilets Are Of Proper Height
At around the age of 50, the knees and back become stiffer – and ultimately, less flexible.
This makes using toilets that are of normal height a challenge.
This reality also makes the fact of using lower toilets a task that is completely impossible to even try.
This leaves you, the elderly and Seniors only with one option: tall(er) toilets that tower above the regular options.
With these taller toilets that help you seat well above what the regular options ensure, you’re assured of joints that will cooperate better when obeying the call of nature.
The greatest relieve, however, will come from the knowledge that an accident resulting from bending low, getting up or as a result of stiff joints will be well in the past.
5. Provide Awesome Shower Chairs
There is nothing as awesome and as important as enjoying the heck out of a bath.
Unfortunately, many Seniors and elderly persons always forget this very important reality.
If you have not forgotten – or are interested in enjoying your bath to the fullest as an aged person without a single worry in the world, you should begin to make preparations for shower chairs.
Available in various specs, colors and sizes, these chairs aid with the process of sitting down when in the shower.
Sitting down in the bathroom, in turn, ensures that strain is put on the legs less, accidents minimized and overall, the whole process of taking one’s bath appreciated to a whole new and exciting level devoid of any fear of accident.
6. Organize Your Bathroom Space Smartly
Organization is an art that many never master – or bother to perfect.
For some, it is a chore that is best left exactly where it should be 🙂
To be sincere, we also do not love chores, their doing or general organization for that matter.
However, when it comes to the reality of a bathroom or toilet used by the elderly or Seniors, it is of utmost importance that it is kept as tidy and as cluster free as it can go.
The grand reason is not far fetched…
The aged eye and body is naturally tired and as a result, always clumsy – and prone to hit and take on things it is not supposed to.
When this happens, an accident can result – one that is not supposed to occur in the first place.
Getting things in place in the bathroom (and toilet) is the perfect place to start.
During this task, it is also very important to ensure that nothing is left lying aimlessly on the floor – this is where the greatest risk lies and presents itself, ready to cause chaos.
7. Introduce Grab Bars Where The Need Calls For Them
Until recently, grab bars were thought to be old fashioned and not needed – especially in a modern house.
Today, grab bars and rails are found in almost every part of the modern house – especially the kitchen, toilet and importantly, bathroom.
While the grab bars and rails are important in other areas of the house, their importance takes a significant dimension when Seniors, the elderly and bathrooms are in focus.
If your bathroom is not properly equipped with rails and grab bars, now is the right time to install them in place if you are looking to ensure a bathroom that is Senior friendly and tolerant of the aged.
8. Ensure Wider Access Doors
Generally, everyone loves to have things that are bigger and more impressive: bigger cars, bigger houses and certainly, an impressively ‘big’ bank account 🙂
However, when age sets in, the concept of big and impressive things is taken to the extreme – an extreme that serves in a most productive manner.
To make the most of this reality and ensure that toilets and the bathrooms in the house are Senior and elderly friendly, it is of utmost importance to ensure that doors to the toilets and bathrooms are wide enough so that every Senior or elderly person can comfortable pass through without any manner of inconvenience.
However, that is not all. The doors to these conveniences need to be impressively large to give way to such walking aids such as rollators and walkers for Seniors.
This way, it would be easy to walk right in the bathroom with a walking aid or if assistance is needed, get someone to easily assist you (or any elderly person for that matter) right to the point of need.
9. Introduce Grab Bars Or Reachers (And Not Step Stools)
Sometimes, the toilet or bathroom where Seniors frequent in a house is designed in such a manner that some things are hung right above or placed in such a manner that step stools are needed to either access them or bring them down.
To make a toilet or bathroom Senior friendly, we strongly advise that step stools are completely taken out of the way as aids to access high or difficult to reach items in the bathroom.
This is because, they present an impressive amount of risk of falls – one that even younger persons should not be willing to go through.
As a smarter alternative to the step tool in this type of environment, we think – and sincerely believe that reach grabbers will do a better and completely safer job.
Afterall, reach grabbers are the best friends of Seniors and the aged when it comes to difficult to reach items and stuff placed well out of reach.
10. Ensure Temperature Control Is Installed
Finally, to fully make certain that one’s bathroom is friendly to Seniors and the aged, it is important make certain that the temperature therein is controlled and not just the running water, the water gushing from the shower or the water rising from the tub.
While this option may be expensive and may require thousands of Dollars in hard cash, there is another option that can smartly control the entire temperature of the space without breaking either a sweat or the bank.
This option is going the portable space heater route.
These portable space heaters, apart from the fact that they are small, portable and will not break the bank, have many of their models equipped with a thermostat – an option that regulates the surrounding temperature where the heater is kept ensuring that it neither gets too cold nor gets too hot in the bathroom (for the Senior or aged).
This is an important thing to consider and take serious especially if one is faced with the task of living in the temperate regions of the world.
Think of your cosy bedroom during the winter and replicate that same feeling of security and assurance in the bathroom.
Or, why shouldn’t you (or other Seniors) enjoy same as (an) elderly person(s)?
Getting a bathroom (or toilet) to be friendly to Seniors, the aged and the elderly is certainly a task – one that may not be completely achieved in either a day or week.
However, the end result has always justified the tasking procedure and has always also made it worth both the time and while.
If you are a Senior, aged person or caregiver thus, this article certainly should both put you on the right track and inspire you to do what is right for either yourself or the Senior person(s) you currently care for or anticipate that you’ll soon start caring for.
Until our next post, stay awesome 🙂