My mother’s biggest fear, as she grew older and more frail, was the bathroom. She was convinced that if anything were to happen to her anywhere in her home, it would be in the bathroom.
As an Occupational Therapist I had seen many patients who were in my care because of an incident either in the shower or toilet or elsewhere. So, I knew that my mother’s concerns were not unfounded.
As her illness progressed and her health declined, my sister and I made a plan to do what we could to help her stay as independent and safe as possible for as long as possible.
And of course, we started with the bathroom.
In this article I will list the products that we ended up buying for her as well as some others that we liked but wouldn’t meet her particular needs.
There are so many products available these days. Hopefully our experience and research will help you to decide which product to use for your senior loved one.
There are many different kinds of products that we’re going to be talking about here so I’m going to break them up into categories to make it easier for you.
It can be dangerous to leave a bathroom fan on and for older adults who have trouble hearing – they may not even realize that it’s been left on. Adding a timer to that switch can make the home safer.
Bathtub grab bars provide a handhold for someone who is getting into or out of the bathtub. These clamp on the side of the tub so that they are within easy reach of the bather. (Lealo en Español)
If getting in and out of a traditional bathtub is difficult, then consider putting in a bathtub lift. This portable product makes it easier for you to get into and out of a tub safely.
A great way to help reduce falls in a bathtub or shower is to use a bathtub mat or stickies to make the floor less slippery.
Grab bars are usually the very first home remodeling project that older adults and/or their family caregivers undertake as someone grows older and plans to age in place. There are many wonderful varieties these days so take a look at some that we recommend.
Grab bar anchored to the wall by the toilet can help to stabilize a weak person so they are safer while sitting down or standing up from the commode.
Using a non slip bath mat inside and outside of the tub or shower reduces the chance of slipping with wet feet.
For elderly who may not be able to get into a shower for a variety of reasons, a portable shower may be a good solution, whether it’s a temporary situation or if it’s needed for a long term amount of time.
An easy and inexpensive way to make a shower safer for older adults is to install a shower dispenser for your shampoo, conditioner and liquid body soap.
For anyone with arthritic hands, there are some shower faucet levers that are difficult to manage. This would be a very easy home modification to make to give some more independence to the resident senior.
Flexible shower heads with customizable mounting brackets are excellent for seniors who need a shower chair or bench. It’s a safe way to take a shower and keep as much independence as possible.
There are many products that can be added to a shower stall to make it as safe as possible for older adults. Check out the ones that we recommend.
For temporary use and if installed correctly and used correctly, suction grab bars can be useful and helpful.
Using the toilet can be dangerous for frail or injured seniors. Using toilet safety rails (permanent) or toilet safety frames (removable) will make it much safer for the person.
If getting on and off a toilet seat has become a chore – there are alternatives to make it easier and of course, safer. There’s no need that toileting has to become a difficult task simply because the toilet itself is no longer functional for that senior.
For any senior that has severe arthritis or any other illness that makes using their fingers difficult – an automatic dispenser such as this one can make life just a little bit easier and cleaner.
Many older adults use shower benches and shower chairs – it’s a great precautionary product that allows you to have as much independence as possible.
Walk in tubs are a bit of a luxury but if you can install this in your home, you may end up loving it – especially if you are a bath person!