How could something that’s so comforting and soothing, like a nice, warm bath, become one of the biggest dangers to seniors? The truth is, the combination of slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water creates the perfect storm for a fall risk – one of the most severe risks to seniors.
January is designated as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great time for both training and assessment to ensure your senior loved ones’ bathroom environments are as safe as possible.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 370 people of all ages suffer tub or shower-related accidents each day in the United States, but elderly care services, like those provided by Regency Home Care in Atlanta, GA, can help reduce bathtime hazards and keep seniors safe and secure. Because most falls in the home take place in the bathroom, AARP advises taking the following preventative measures:
- Put in grab bars for the toilet, shower, and tub
- Install non-skid tile or use non-skid bath mats
- Set the temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees F or lower to prevent scalds
- Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub if prone to falling when stepping over the tub wall
- Provide a bath chair to enable bathers to sit while bathing
- Apply no-slip strips to the tub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
- Wipe up any water spills on the floor immediately
It’s also a good idea to assess whether it could be worthwhile for a senior to make use of a mobile commode, which may be placed at a bedside to relieve nighttime bathroom requirements. Bedside commodes can reduce the risk of evening falls, and may also be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to look for when purchasing a commode:
- Non-removable armrests
- Rubber tips on the legs as opposed to wheels
- A frame that is sturdy
- Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)
Standard, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as high as $3,000.
AARP also provides a helpful bathroom checklist with design directions that can help seniors and their families make the most appropriate home modification decisions.
Regency Home Care of Georgia can additionally help with bathroom safety for seniors. We can provide an in-home safety assessment and suggestions, and by offering expert, hands-on elderly care assistance at bathtime, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs – always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at (678) 999-2446 for more information about our wide array of Atlanta in-home care services.