7 Ways to Make Your Bathroom More Accessible for the Elderly

senior friendly bathroomFor the elderly, using the bathroom effectively – whether it is the toilet, faucets, or the shower and bathtub – can be difficult. For people who have lost mobility and strength, standing in a shower for a long time isn’t possible, and getting in and out of a bathtub is a risky proposition.

Thankfully there has been progress in bathroom remodeling geared towards helping seniors navigate the bathroom with ease. The remodeling covers a wide range, from something as simple as a sprayer attachment that allows for the person to sit while bathing, to curbless showers that remove the need to step up for access. These changes can help the elderly be more independent in the bathroom, and they also help the elderly caregiver give better care to their loved one.

Here are seven ways you can make your bathroom more accessible for the elderly.

1. Install lever faucets. Having a lever faucet gets rid of the twisting and turning that can be difficult for the elderly. There are hundreds of different styles to choose from, including foot operated faucets. Installing a new faucet isn’t as difficult as it once was, but anytime you’re dealing with plumbing, it is good to at least talk with a professional before making the change yourself.

2. Get a sprayer attachment for your shower-head. A shower-head that you can detach and hold in your hand makes bathing really easy. It furthermore eliminates the need to stand while showering, certainly a bonus for those who have problems standing for long periods. Being able to sit and shower also means more independence for the elderly.

3. Install grab bars and rails. This is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to make your bathroom more elderly-friendly. Installing grab bars and rails in the shower, bathtub and near the toilet makes bathing and using the toilet easier not only for the elderly person, but for the caregiver as well. The grab bars and rails can be installed yourself or you can hire someone to do the work.

4. Raise the height of the toilet. Simply raising the toilet’s height as little as three inches can make all the difference for seniors. There are a lot of options for raising the height of the toilet. You can simply raise the height of your existing toilet with a thick toilet seat, or you can replace your old toilet with a “Comfort Height” toilet. Once again, this can be a DIY project, or a project where you call a plumber.

5. Thick rugs for cushioning. This simple and easy addition to the bathroom is for the elderly caregivers that are spending time on their knees bathing someone. Placing a well-padded rug or pillow under your knees can keep your knees from hurting, making the bathing process less of a chore.

6. Non-slip bath mats and rugs. This is another easy way to prevent falls in the bathroom. Placing a non-slip mat in the shower prevents the senior from falling while showering and a non-slip rug on the floor outside the shower prevents any slipping once the senior is out of the shower. Non-slip tape is a lower cost option for shower pans and tub bottoms.

7. Curbless showers and Walk-in bathtubs. For the seniors that can’t lift their legs, putting in a curbless shower can be a lifesaver. A curbless shower can make the transition from wheelchair to shower seat simple and easy for the senior and the caregiver. Walk-in bath tubs are another popular option, as they are much easier to access than traditional tubs and most have a built in seat as well. There are many different options for installing a curbless shower or a walk-in bathtub. You can buy and have installed a pre-fabricated unit, or you can do it yourself. The advantage to having a new unit installed is that they are specifically designed for senior care.

There are twin goals to redoing your bathroom: the first is to increase the independence of your loved one, and the second is to make life easier for you the caregiver.

What changes to your bathroom have you made? What is the most cost-effective way to change your bathroom to suit the elderly?

Product Review: Spiky- Studded Snow Tires for Your Feet

heeltoeWhile we don’t recommend that anyone walk around on icy surfaces, we are thrilled to learn about a product that can make that walk a little less treacherous.  We already know that one out of three adults 65 and older falls each year and that those falls lead to a high rate of Traumatic Brain Injuries, fractures, and increase the risk of early death.   The good folks at Spiky have a unique product that can easily be billed as fall prevention.

Spiky works like a studded snow tire for your feet with a lightweight rubber pullover for your shoes.  They can be worn on both icy surfaces and concrete without wearing down the steel spikes.  They can also be worn indoors, however we wouldn’t recommend wearing them on nice wood floors or other hard surfaces, unless you are going for the “distressed” look for your floors.  These would be ideal for anyone who lives in an area that has snowy, icy winters.  In fact, I’m going to send a set of these to my grandmother who insists on getting her mail everyday, despite the conditions outside.

Spiky offers two products- The first is a Spiky Sling which has spikes in the front (toe area) of the rubber sling only.  The second Spiky product is the Spiky Plus which offers an extra set of spikes in the heel area of the sling.  Both can be worn with all types of shoes from work boots to high heels.  The Sling retails for $24.95 and the Plus for $29.95.  If you plan on buying 5 or more, the price per Spiky decreases.

walking with spikyWe had the opportunity to have a face-to-face with the Spiky Plus.  The rubber feels strong and durable, although might be a challenge for older hands to get on a shoe.  The steel spikes are inset in a way that does not pose a danger to small children or fragile older skin since they are not cut to a point.  Once on a shoe, they are lightweight and can even be worn while driving.  The Spiky is compact and can easily be stored in a purse or coat pocket.   Since we don’t have any snow or ice in our neck of the woods right now, we aren’t able to comment on their effectiveness in the elements, but will provide an update to this review once we have a chance to get to the mountain.  For additional information about Spiky products or to place an order, visit their website at www.spiky.com.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
If you've used this product (or service): Please RATE your experience and COMMENT below!
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)