Damey and I heard from a caregiver friend recently, and she mentioned having taken on a new client in his early 90s, who is showing signs of “giving up.” Last year, his best friend and golf buddy passed away, and the gentleman gave up the game he enjoyed so much and the social experience of playing golf with friends which he relished.
His mood and his attitude have become much more subdued, and his daughter is concerned that he’s not taking very good care of himself anymore. After all, he’s not getting together with his friends, he’s losing weight because he’s not eating properly, he’s becoming more incontinent, he wants to sleep too much, and his frailty is showing causing her to worry about him falling in the bathroom when he showers or is cleaning himself up.
The adult daughter has a valid concern. According to the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA), “Our bodies change as we age, but often our homes do not. As a result, it can become harder or less safe to do things that used to be easy. For example, almost 80 percent of falls in the home occur in the bathroom, and according to the CDC, more than 200,000 seniors are treated in emergency rooms each year for bathroom-related injuries.”
Since January is Bath Safety Awareness Month, we wanted to know how bathrooms can be made safer for seniors and the elderly to prevent slips, falls, and ER visits. The ODA has specific suggestions for creating a safer bathroom environment that we want to share with you.
- Add Grab Bars. Professionally installed, secure grab bars deliver reliable support inside and outside of showers and tubs, as well as next to commodes and sinks. Be careful with suction-style grab bars because they may not provide adequate support.
- Use Non-Slip Mats and Rugs. Place a non-slip mat or appliques on the floors of showers and tubs to help prevent slipping. Also, non-slip rugs can be placed on the floor outside of the shower or tub to gain proper footing.
- Organization Helps. To prevent the need to stretch to reach what you need while in the tub or shower, use a bath caddy to keep toiletries nearby at eye or shoulder level. It is also beneficial to keep frequently used items like toothbrushes, lotion, and other toiletries on a convenient shelf at eye level.
- Keep it Clean. Keep necessary supplies in the bathroom for easy clean-ups. Water, lotion, oil, and powder on floors can all cause nasty slips and falls. Having basic cleaning supplies like a hand broom, mop, sponges, and cleansers close will help with quick and easy clean-ups. Also, remove wet and dry towels from floors so feet don’t get tangled in them, or they become tripping hazards.
- Invest in Good Seats. Invest in a removable shower chair or have a shower chair or transfer bench professionally installed in the shower or tub. Additionally, a raised toilet seat can prove beneficial for seniors with ambulation difficulties or arthritic conditions.
Our Home Helpers® Canton, OH, professional caregivers deliver personal care, support, and assistance to seniors every day. If you are concerned about a senior loved one and their bathroom safety, Damey and I are happy to schedule a FREE consultation at your convenience to assess safety concerns, offer specific recommendations for making the home and bathroom environments safer, and determine ways a Home Helpers® caregiver can make life easier and provide you more peace of mind. 330.892.9329
Home Helpers® Canton, OH, is Veteran-owned and operated. We are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award, the Shooting Star Award (2011), and multiple Platinum awards for the superior level of care we provide. We are Certified Senior Advisors and members of the Home Care Association of America, Alzheimer’s Association, and the International Franchise Association. In addition, we were ranked in the Top 500 Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2019.
Home Helpers® Canton proudly serves male and female seniors in Stark County, Portage County, and portions of Summit County including the communities of Akron, Alliance, Canton, East Sparta, Hartville, Jackson, Massillon, Navarre, North Canton, Randolph, and surrounding areas.
Ohio Department of Aging