Five Simple Ways to Make Your Bathroom Safer As You Age
Posted on: 10 August 2018 by Brooke Bowman
Your bathroom is an essential part of your home, but it could also be one of the most hazardous. Here are five simple ways to reduce your risk of falls and safeguard your space for years to come.
Compared to almost every other area of our homes other than our kitchen, the bathroom arguably poses the greatest risk of danger. The probability for falls is increased with the combination of a slick floor and water, it can be difficult to climb in and out of bathtubs, and electric shock is also a concern. As such, as we age, it is important to make adjustments to our bathroom spaces to ensure that they’re as safe yet effective as possible.
Today, let’s take a look at five simple measures you can take today to help keep yours hazard-free. The good news is, in most cases, you won’t be required to make a major overhaul to your existing space. Rather, with a few adjustments here and there you can continue to use your personal bathroom with confidence.
1. Install strategically placed grab bars.
This is one of the first steps you can take to make your bathroom safer for any age demographic. Grab bars can offer invaluable support when you need a little assistance getting into or out of a space such as a bathtub or shower. They’re also there to brace you in the event you do find yourself mid-fall.
Especially if you have issues with your balance, grab bars are an inexpensive way to up the safety factor in your bathroom. Keep in mind that while they may look similar, towel bars are not intended to support the weight of a person and could easily fall off if you lean against them in a time of need. Rather, grab bars are specifically designed to be durable enough to handle the job, so install a few where you anticipate needing them the most and opt for the kind that bolt to the wall rather than suction onto to your tub or shower.
2. Buy a shower chair.
It’s a simple luxury that anyone can appreciate and enjoy, but seniors will especially benefit from the installation of a shower chair. Often, hot water can make us light-headed and dizzy, and there’s nowhere to rest for a second if we’re forced to stand up. In these cases, a shower chair is an ideal place to take a break and a few breaths. They are also great additions for those who have issues with stability or cannot stand for long periods of time.
One general rule of thumb? Select a shower chair that has rubber grips on the legs to ensure it doesn’t slide out from underneath you when it gets wet. If you’re still able to get into and out of the shower on your own, a basic stool might suffice. Yet, if you need a little help easing into it, you can also find shower chairs that are long and bench-like on one side, allowing you to gently slide in.
3. Get a few non-slip mats.
While there’s nothing like relaxing in a warm bathtub after a long day, you don’t need another reason to slip and fall while in your bathroom. The bottom of your tub can get incredibly slippery, especially if you’re using any sort of bubble bath, epsom salts or a similar toiletry. For just a few dollars, you can find great-quality, slip-resistant mats that simply suction cup to the bottom of the tub. The tops of these mats are grippy, giving your feet a solid place to land when you’re getting in and out.
Continue the trend by placing a non-slip mat outside of both your tub and shower as well as in front of your sink, as these are places that seniors are most likely to fall in their bathroom.
4. Install a shower caddy.
When you’re in the shower, you need to be focused on your safety. You shouldn’t have to bend all the way down to pick up your bar of soap or reach very far to get your loofah. Rather, install a shower caddy within easy reach to ensure that all of your bathtime essentials are right there. While there are some models available that use a suction cup adhesive, opt for ones that mount to the wall or go around your shower head as these are more likely to stay put.
When stocking your caddy, be sure to think of everything you might need while you’re in the shower. At the same time, be sure you understand how to safely use and put back every item you select. For instance, brush up on how to shave with a safety razor if you intend to keep one on hand.
5. Consider a raised toilet seat.
One of the simplest ways to outfit your bathroom for optimal safety is to install a raised toilet seat. Put simply, this is a seat that fits on top of your existing seat, with handles on either side for stability. If you’ve ever experienced difficulty lowering yourself down onto your current toilet seat and maintaining your balance, this small fix can make a huge difference.
Usually designed to raise the seat around three to four inches, a raised seat should also be installed with grab bars nearby to offer even greater support.
At the end of the day, your bathroom is a personal yet essential space. You should feel as protected and safeguarded when you enter yours. By following the five tips detailed above, you can help outfit your bathroom to last for years down the road.