When people get older they will want to be able to age in place. Living independently is the dream of just about any retiree as not many people hope to end up in an assisted living facility. For an elderly person to be able to live independently, the house needs to be modified for safety. It is almost always the house that is to blame for a senior not being able to live there.
Houses were not designed for people with mobility issues or ailments that prevent them from being able to take care of themselves. This is why it’s so important to modify the house to make sure that it is not a barrier to independent living. The best way to go is to look at each room and identify areas where improvements can be made to make it safer. In this article, we will focus on changes to the bathroom that can be done to ensure that you or a loved one is able to grow old gracefully at home.
1 - Change the shower
The focus on any type of modification of any room is always falling prevention. Since the bathroom is wet and slippery it is the most dangerous area in an elderly person’s home. Making modifications to the bathroom should be the first priority since it is where most accidents are likely to happen.
The shower is the most obvious item to sort out since it is the cause of many slips and falls. In fact, a lot of elderly people have poor physical hygiene since they avoid taking a bath or shower due to the fear of getting hurt or worse.
There are many showers now that are designed with the senior citizen in mind. Old-fashioned tubs should be replaced with ones that have a door and lock so that you can walk right into the tub. This prevents a slip and fall when trying to step over the side of a tub. Once inside there is usually a seat where you can sit and wash up without worrying about falling.
The tub fills up and you are able to take a bath normally. When the water has drained, you simply unlatch the door and walk right out.
There are showers in which you don’t have a tub but rather a platform so there is nothing to step over. Look for a shower that has a seat built-in for added security. With a wand shower head, you can then get an effective cleaning done without having to stand up or move around too much.
2 - Change the toilet
Those with mobility issues struggle to clean themselves up after using the toilet. The twisting around required means that many don’t do a very good job. It is not easy to reach the spots they need to be able to make sure that they are thoroughly cleaned up.
The other issue is that when people have to contort themselves to do so properly, there is the risk of falling off of the toilet. It’s best to avoid this from happening in the first place by replacing your traditional toilet with a smart one that has a bidet combo.
They have a lot of features that make it very easy for a senior to maintain their hygiene. The way that it cleans is to spray a jet of water after using the toilet. Since the smart toilet is electric, it can heat the water so it is warm and comfortable. After about 20 seconds of use, you are fully washed off without needing to use toilet paper.
To dry off, an air blower will direct warm air onto you so there isn’t any need to use a towel to dry off after use.
Many of these smart toilets also have features such as a scent release for keeping the bathroom smelling fresh as well as a heated seat for comfort in the winter. Many also use remote controls so using the toilet is much easier.
3 - Install grab bars
Getting up from the toilet is a challenge and is often when people fall. Having a bar installed in the wall, or a rail on the floor next to the toilet will allow an elderly person to pull themself up without straining themself.
There should also be grab bars installed around the bathroom and especially in the shower. Even with a built-in chair, it is necessary to have a way to pull themself up safely.