As our loved ones ages, it becomes more crucial to make adjustments at home to improve the overall home safety for them. Statistics reveal that 1 in 3 people aged over 65 years old experiences at least one fall a year. However, many of them do not seek the necessary medical attention.
The elderly and people with mobility difficulties are most at risk of falling and injuring themselves in the bathroom. This is due to the relatively tight spaces and slippery floors in the bathroom. To minimise the risk of falls, we can make a couple of safety improvements in our bathroom. Here are some products we recommend that can aid in a safer bathroom experience for our elderly.
Toilet Grab Bars
Oftentimes, older people with difficulty in maintaining their balance would usually hold onto a towel bar for support in the bathroom. However, towel bars are usually made for lightweight items and are not intended to carry a large amount of weight. Hence it is much safer to install a grab bar specifically designed to provide additional support for the user in the bathroom.
A suggestion is to install a horizontal grab bar beside the toilet bowl that can assist the elderly when sitting down or getting up. The best types of grab bars are those that can be mounted on the wall as the ones with suction cups tend to fall out overtime. Make sure to mount the grab bar securely to the wall so that it provides a safe and stable support.
Rubberised Non-Slip Mats could a great option to consider in the bathroom. You can place the mats infront of the shower and/or the sink. If you intend to cover the entire bathroom floor with the mats, do ensure that you lay them down evenly because uneven flooring in the bathroom could also be a risk for tripping. With rubber mats, it is also important to clean it regularly to prevent any soap residue buildup on the mats.
Consider treating your bathroom floors with an anti-slip floor solution to reduce the risk of falls in the bathroom. Anti-Slip Floor Solutions are a great alternative as they are safe (non toxic and odourlesss), easy to apply and it’s effect lasts for a couple of years. Most Singapore HDB toilets are an estimate of 5-7 square meters. A good gauge is that for every 100ml of solution, it is able to cover one square metre of surface.
It may be a challenge for the elderly to maintain their balance while standing up to shower. Hence, shower chairs can be a useful aid for them to rest comfortably and safely while showering. Sitting while showering greatly reduces the risk of falling due to the wet floors.
Shower chairs now come with many options, some have armrest or are height adjustable/foldable. However, before committing to a purchase decision, there are some aspects to keep in mind. You should always check the weight capacity of the shower chair to determine if it is safe for the intended user. Shower chairs should also be made of sturdy anti-rust material with rubber tips so that it does not move on the wet bathroom floors, or rust overtime. The shower chair seats should also be textured. These textured surfaces serve as an anti-slip surface with drainage holes to prevent the water from pooling while showering.
There are many great shower chair options in the market, hence you should consult with your loved one about their specific needs and take into consideration other physical limitations such as your bathroom size as well.
Most bathrooms have direct overhead lighting. However, these lighting can casts harsh shadows that can confuse the elderly. You can instead install multiple light sources that can fill the space with warm, shadowless illumination instead. Avoid having dim lights in the bathroom that would not be helpful especially if your loved one has vision problems. You can consider installing motion sensor LED lights to light the floor should your loved one intends to use the bathroom at night.
It is important to keep in mind that even if you do incorporate any of these safety improvements in your bathroom, you still need to keep an eye on the elderly while they are using the bathroom. Supervision and installing safety features in our bathroom is the best way to keep our elders safe.