Bathroom Safety for Seniors

Bathroom safety should be a priority for every family caregiver who is caring for an elderly loved one at home. Falls are the cause of many injuries among individuals over 65 years of age. Many of these unfortunate falls occur in the bathroom during the process of bathing or showering. Fall injuries may be avoided by following our Fall Prevention Home Safety Check List and by investing in bathroom safety equipment. These suggestions will contribute to a safer bathroom environment.

Bathroom safety equipment is categorized into fixed and non-fixed devices. Fixed devices are grab bars, a hand held shower fixture, wall mounted folding shower seat, soap dispenser, non-slip shower and bathtub threaded strips, toilet safety frame, GFI electrical outlet, lighting, cabinet and drawer latches and pressure-balanced anti-scalding shower valves. All of these devices are affixed to a firm structure and should be installed by a qualified or licensed professional.

The non-fixed bathroom equipment is devices that aren’t permanently fasten to a structure. These devices are equipment such as a shower chair, transfer bench, shower stool, tub bar, water thermostat, non-slip and non-skid floor mat, toilet seat riser, 3 in 1 commode and a patient bath lifter. These types of bathroom devices are easy to use, and do not required to be installed to a fixed structure.

Bathroom safety also extends itself to how products are used within it. For example, the proper fitting of a shower chair, transfer bench and other seating products are important for the safety of your loved one, especially when they can not stand for a long period of time.

Therefore, consideration must be given to the shower chair or other seating products weight capacity, floor to seat height and seat width. Shower chairs, transfer benches, shower stools and similar products are rated into different weight capacities. For example, there are shower chairs with weight capacities of 250 lb, 300 lb and other variations of weights. Therefore, selecting the appropriate chair weight capacity ensures it wont collapse under strain. Next, the appropriate floor to seat height must be determined. Floor to seat height measurements is all about safety. To ensure the users feet are flat on the floor while seated, calculations must be taken. Determining the seat height measurement is easy. Just measure from the floor surface to the middle of the knee with a measuring tape. This will allow a 90 degree angle bend when seated. If you need to raise or lower the height of the seat, just adjust the legs to the appropriate level. Most chairs are accompanied with the manufacture instructions to explain how to adjust the legs. To establish the seat width, hip to hip measurements are needed. Allow at least 2 additional inches on each side for comfort. Also, select a chair or similar product with a slip-proof seat surface and preferable with holes in the seat for proper drainage. Some shower chairs are design with arm rest for comfort and easy lifting.

Bathroom safety should be on everyone’s mind when caring for an elderly relative. This mindset will reduce falls and injuries during bathing. Keep it safe!

~ by Butch on June 12, 2012.

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