While the bathroom may be the smallest room in a home, it’s also one of the most dangerous for adults with mobility issues. A bathroom that is not designed with safety considerations can make achieving the goal of independent living difficult. With almost 90 percent of seniors stating their desire to age-in-place in a recent AARP survey, there is an increased need to design safer bathrooms for fall prevention.
Making Bathrooms Safer
While not everyone has the funds to do a complete bathroom remodel, there are minor upgrades you can make to the bathroom that reduce the risk of accidents. These include:
- Replacing the floor with slip-resistant material such as vinyl. Or, if tile is a must, choose tiles that have texture to give feet a better grip. Tile manufacturers number tiles with slip resistant ratings, so look for tile with a rating of 0.42 or higher. If you can’t replace the floors, make sure you secure non-slip mats.
- Upgrading the shower or bathtub to curbless or walk-in models can help prevent the danger of falling from climbing in and out of showers and tubs. Adjustable showerheads, built-in seating and ADA-compliant grab bars can making bathing safer.
- Replacing the toilet with a taller fixture so that there is less effort required to sit and stand.
- Installing supportive grab bars and moving the location of toilet paper rolls to be easier to reach.
- Installing light fixtures that light up the bathroom, but don’t produce a glare. Make sure switches are easy to access, and install a nightlight.
If you are a family caregiver, you can learn more about creating a safer environment for elderly loved ones with FSL’s Empowering Family Caregivers Educational Series.