According to research by the CDC, one-third of all adults over the age of 65 falls each year. And of those, the falls that occur in the bathroom often result in serious injuries such as head trauma or broken bones. To avoid these scary and often life-altering injuries, there are a few simple plumbing tips and modifications that can be made in your home, or your elderly loved one’s home to help avoid these dangerous falls and injuries.
- Modify or replace the bathtub with a walk-in tub. Stepping up over the side of a standard bathtub is challenging for many older adults. And when the tub surface is wet, it makes entering and exiting the tub even more hazardous. But these dangers can be eliminated by installing a walk-in tub with a door or entry space. Also, think about adding a seat to reduce the stress and strain while bathing. Many older people can only stand for a few minutes before becoming tired, which increases their risk of falling. With less stress from standing, your loved one will be more relaxed and enjoy bathing again.
- Installing grab bars and handrails is a simple way to provide added safety and independence for your loved ones. These bars make it easier to maintain balance and also to raise and lower in the tub or shower. And equally important is the feeling of added safety and confidence that it provides to older bathers.
- Adding non-slip floor coverings is essential in any wet environment. Inside the tub and shower, as well as on the floor outside the tub or shower, are both areas to consider. Mats with rubber backing are best for outside bathing areas. A bath mat or textured stickers can be applied inside a tub or shower to increase the friction to make the area safer for your loved ones when bathing.
- A raised toilet is often much more comfortable for an older adult to use independently. Some models can be installed that accommodate older adults with a higher seat. When installing this senior-friendly toilet, it is a good idea to consider including handrails for less stress when taking a seat or standing up. Or you can install an adaptor with handrails on a standard height toilet.
- As we age, our skin becomes more sensitive to heat. And a shower that used to be perfectly comfortable can feel too hot or even burn the senior citizen’s skin. To avoid a potential burn or fall from the shock of water that is too hot, keep the water heater set at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to check the temperature setting when you have a new water heater installed. Most units have a factory default setting of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is nothing that is more important than the safety of your loved ones. But as family members age, it can be challenging to understand how their needs change. And without adapting to meet those new or increased needs, your older loved ones can become far more dependent on others for their daily care. However, you can help your older loved ones remain as independent as possible by helping to adapt their bathroom to be more senior-friendly.
If you are unsure about what bathroom updates would be more helpful for your older loved ones, call (214) 388-4525 and allow a Metroplex Leak & Line professional to assist you. Our team has years of experience in creating safe and functional bathrooms for our elder clients. And we would be happy to assist you and your loved one in this project. We offer appointments in the evening and on the weekends to help eliminate any stress from your schedule so that you can focus on helping that special older person in your life to be safe and independent.