Home Care for Parkinson's Disease: Addressing Bathroom Safety and Independence Issues
Greg and Hilary Eldridge
Home Care in Marietta GA
A diagnosis with Parkinson's disease can seem overwhelming for your parent. They might immediately think that they are no longer going to be able to enjoy the independence that they value so highly, or that they are going to have to rely on other people for everything. This can make them feel depressed or anxious, or even discourage them from following through with treatment and management guidelines because they feel that there is no point. Fortunately, this does not have to be the way that their disease progresses. With dedicated home care and assistance from you, your aging parent can truly continue to enjoy a high quality of life and maintain much of their independence as they progress through the stages of the disease.
One particularly effective way of helping your aging parent maintain independence and keep a good perspective on life is by making modifications throughout the home that address specific issues related to their condition. These modifications can make it possible for your parent to handle tasks and activities that may otherwise be too difficult or dangerous because of their symptoms. This means that your parent will be less reliant on you or their home care provider, helping them to feel better about themselves and maintain a higher level of mental and physical activity and health.
While there are changes that can be made throughout the home to promote safety and independence for your aging parent with Parkinson's disease, the bathroom is particularly important. Each year millions of accidents occur in the bathroom, with a large percentage of these resulting in injuries requiring medical treatment. Seniors with PD are at higher risk of experiencing such accidents due to the nature of their symptoms. Stiffness, tremors, unsteady gait, vision problems, and other issues can make it more likely that your parent will experience a fall or other problem.
Some simple modifications that you can make to help your parent with Parkinson's disease maintain greater independence and safety in the bathroom include:
- Replace the floor. Most bathroom floors are extremely slippery. This is because they are slick already and then the water, condensation, and bath products that can get onto the floor furthers this issue. Replace these slick tiles with texturized versions that provide better grip for those with mobility issues. This will reduce the changes of slipping and make your parent more confident whether they are walking across the floor, using the restroom, or getting in and out of the bath.
- Add grab bars. Tremors and an unstable gait can make it more challenging for your parent to walk across the bathroom or to get in and out of the bath or shower safely. Grab bars offer something for your parent to hold onto, giving them greater stability and increasing their ability to handle bathroom tasks independently.
- Add a seat. You might not think about tasks such as brushing teeth or shaving as strenuous, but standing in place for this long can be challenging for your parent. Adding a bench or other type of seat to the bathroom can let your parent sit comfortably and safely while handling these tasks.
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