It’s commonly known that the elderly have a difficult time using bathroom facilities as they are rarely adapted to their needs. Whether they want to use the toilet, faucet or take a shower or a bath, safety should be their top priority there. Do you have a senior in your close family you need to occasionally take care of? Then you surely must be worried about this issue as well.
Is there a way to easily adapt the bathroom to their needs? With a bit of remodelling and your time, you’ll be able to design the loo that will perfectly suit their needs. But how can you do so? Here are some tips and ideas that will help you design the safest and the most convenient bathroom for a senior.
1. Install grab bars
One of the first and most common things people do to help the elderly in the bathroom is installing grab bars. It’s commonly known that seniors usually have a weaker balance and their back and other bones frequently ache, which makes it difficult for them to stand up or sit down. Is there something you should be cautious about?
Firstly, you need to pay attention to the place where you’re installing those bars. They need to have a clear purpose, like those around the toilet or in the shower. Secondly, make sure that they are properly fixed against the wall. Grab bars with suction cups are a big no-no especially for older people. Lastly, make sure that they are grip resistant and non-slippery so your seniors can safely visit the loo.
2. Get a raised toilet seat
You’re probably aware of the fact that the elderly have frequent backaches and pain in the joints and bones that prevent them from moving around properly. That can severely affect the process of sitting down and standing up, which can make trips to the loo a total nightmare. So, what can you do?
Get a raised toilet seat. If our loved ones need to bend their knees too much, it would cause them a lot of pain. So, instead of the regular height toilet seat, get an adjustable raised seat that will help them use the loo with ease. Most seats have a special locking mechanism so you can set a height that perfectly matches the user.
3. Proper bathroom lighting
As we age, our eyesight is getting worse and worse. This means that our elderly may have a lot of trouble getting to the right place, especially if it’s too dark. Therefore, implementing proper lighting in the bathroom is crucial for their safety. They need to see clearly whether they are stepping on a wet area where they can slip and fall.
Where do you need to install the lights? Hallway, bathroom entrance, toilet and bathtub need to be visible to your elderly. On top of that, you need to use better-quality lightbulbs to illuminate the entire area. Bad lighting can make their eyes hurt and cause them other serious problems.
4. Shower seat
You’ve surely noticed that many seniors have troubles standing for a longer time, especially if they are located in a slippery area, such as a shower. It can be dreadful for them to slip and fall in there. Their bones are quite fragile, so you need to come up with a solution that will help them bathe or shower more easily.
Have you thought about getting a shower seat that can help them take the shower peacefully? It’s a plastic chair on which your elderly can sit during showering so they don’t have to put too much pressure on their joints and back. Every household with a senior should have one of these practical thingies.
5. Ensure first-floor access
If your grandparents or parents live in a two-storey home, going up and down the stairs every time they need to use the bathroom could be a true disaster for them. Since they are older, their bladders are weaker, which means that they’ll probably have to use the loo more frequently, and climbing the stairs isn’t really practical.
That’s why you need to adapt the downstairs bathroom to their needs. If you don’t have one, consider turning one of the rooms into a bathroom they can use. But be aware that is not an easy, simple nor cheap process.
6. Install sensor faucets
It’s commonly known that the elderly are more likely to suffer from serious cognitive disorders such as dementia. Sometimes, it can be hard for them to remember what they did a couple of minutes ago which can result in disasters, such as flooding the bathroom and entire house. So, if you want to prevent that from happening, consider installing sensor faucets.
Sensor faucets only work if you get close to them, so you don’t have to worry about your grandparents not closing the faucets. Besides that, they can save a lot of money and are less likely to leak or break if installed properly.
7. Make medication accessible
Many elderly people keep their medication in a bathroom in a cabinet. However, as they’re getting older, it would be harder for them to reach their medication on a high shelf. So, think about alternative solutions.
Instead of relocating their drugs, come up with a way to make them accessible. For instance, you can build a lower shelf in the bathroom where your grandma or grandpa can keep their essentials at the reach of the fingertips.
8. Mobility should be a priority
As we age, mobility becomes one of our concerns. Many seniors have limited mobility, while others can’t move at all. That’s why they use all sorts of aids to help them get from one place to the other. How does that affect the bathroom?
Most bathrooms are so small they can’t fit a regular-sized wheelchair inside. That is a big problem. If you want to solve it, consider making their loo wheelchair accessible to make things a bit easier for them. If that is not possible, think about remodelling that area. Build in a bit wider door and make sure that there is enough space to fit in a wheelchair. Of course, you shouldn’t forget about the grab bars and other types of rails that will help your loved ones move around the bathroom easily.
9. Implement a non-slip bath mat in your bathroom
We all know how easy and dangerous it is to slip and fall in your bath or on wet tiles. Seniors usually have a hard time keeping their balance and lifting their feet up, so bathrooms tend to be quite hazardous for them. What can you do? One of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to adapt their bathroom to be more appropriate is implementing a non-slip bathmat.
It’s a simple and cost-effective way of keeping your elderly safe. The only problem may be the bacteria that thrive in a wet and warm environment. So, make sure to wash the bath mat quite often to prevent possible infections from occurring.
10. Check the bathroom plumbing
One of the most important things you need to do when remodelling and adapting the bathroom according to the senior’s years is to check the plumbing. Many elderly people, especially in Australia, live in houses where the pipes and plumbing system are poorly maintained. That’s why the pipes should be your top priority when remodelling the bathroom.
If you’re changing the layout of the bathroom, make sure to take a look at the pipes. If you notice any breakage or leakage, make sure to contact reliable Canberra plumbers that will be at your service at any time. Leave that hard and tricky job to professionals. They will fix any plumbing problem in no time and provide you with expert advice on how to maintain the pipes and other equipment in the bathroom.
11. Maintain their bathroom
As people age, they care less and less about cleaning. Functionality is the most important thing for them and therefore you need to step in and help them from time to time. You’re probably aware that your elderly parents can’t fix leaking faucets, showers and toilets by themselves. Even though you have your own life and responsibilities, helping them around the house from time to time can’t hurt you.
So, every time you visit your parents, check out in which state their bathroom is. Help them clean it and look for any leakages. If you notice any, for instance, in the shower, try to find ways to fix shower leakage. It will take 5 minutes of your time and mean the whole world to the seniors you’re taking care of.
As you can see, with a couple of small different changes and repairs around the bathroom you can make a huge difference. These are only the necessities that will make the elderly person’s life much easier. So, why don’t you implement them and help them face their last years of life living peacefully, without having to worry about their every step?