15 Dec Bathroom Aids to Help You Age in Place
“Ageing in place” is the idea that you can continue to live comfortably, safely and happily in your own home when you reach your senior years, rather than relying on retirement homes, caregivers or assisted living services. There are ways you can prepare your home for yourself or for a loved one to age in place, which includes aids that can be used around the home.
One of the areas of the home where you can most benefit from safety aids is in the bathroom. Unfortunately, bathrooms are known to be the prime location for falls around the home, with 1.6 million people being hospitalized in America for this very reason every year. Those between 75-85 are twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal injury in the bathroom compared to the average person according to the CDC, meaning protecting yourself or your loved ones from the slipping hazards and hard surfaces present in bathrooms is especially important.
To prevent injuries in the bathroom and allow you to age in place with confidence and comfort, use the following tools and tips:
- Install grab bars – Grab bars allow you to support yourself when entering and exiting the tub, and catch yourself in case of a fall. It may be tempting to opt for suction grab bars or think that your towel railing will suffice, but for true peace of mind, install bolted grab bars.
- Install non-slip surfaces and decals – To prevent slips in the wet environment of the bathroom, it’s essential to add non-slip surfaces to the shower, bathtub and floors. This can include non-slip mats in the bathtub, a non-slip rug at the center of the bathroom and even non-slip socks for making your way around the bathroom when the floor may still be damp.
- Ensure items are accessible – Commonly used items like shampoo, soap and body wash should all be placed within reach, so that you do not find yourself straining to reach items when you’re in the shower, and risking a fall while you’re at it. Consider placing a shower caddy with all the necessary items within easy reach.
- Get rid of obstacles – Keep your bathroom clear of obstacles such as rugs, and even consider a walk-in shower or bathtub as opposed to ones where there is a ledge to cross. Getting in and out of the shower should not have to be a hurdling challenge!
- Don’t overexert yourself – If standing up for long periods of time is strenuous, use a bath seat or shower chair to provide comfort when bathing. One of the most common reasons to collapse in the bathroom is due to overexertion or tiredness, so by using bath seats, you minimize the risk of falling or slipping. Similarly, consider placing a seat in front of the sink where you may have to spend a lot of time brushing your teeth or attending to other personal hygiene requirements.
- Use night lights – You may find yourself having to visit the bathroom frequently at night, but the reduced visibility can, of course, present risks. Install night lights along the walkway to your bathroom to make the journey safer.
- Consider toilet safety – Apart from the bathtub and shower, it is also common to suffer injuries from getting up and down from the toilet. A raised toilet seat is a good option, particularly for those who may have had a hip operation or otherwise find it hard to raise and lower themselves from the toilet. These toilet seats raise the height of the seat by 7-10cm, making it easier to sit down. Some toilet seats even come with armrests, allowing for additional support. A toilet safety frame can also help with raising and lowering yourself from the seat.
- Prevent burns – One element of bathroom safety that is sometimes overlooked is the risk of burns. As you age, your skin becomes thinner, making you more susceptible to serious burns. To minimize the risk of burns, clearly label which faucets are hot and cold, and in which direction they are turned. This will prevent any confusion that could have painful consequences.
By adopting some of the tips above, you can increase your comfort, confidence and safety when ageing in place, and not have to rely on carers or assisted living services. Continue spending time in your beloved home with the peace of mind provided by bathroom aid products.