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8 Features for An Elderly-Friendly Bathroom

Bathroom for people with disabilities, elderly and mobility challenges outfitted with bathroom safety accessories.The bathroom is the go-to-place for hygienic maintenance as well as relaxing showers and baths. However, this place can also become a dangerous area because of the dangers of slipping and falling. If a bathroom can be a hazardous area for a young adult, how much more if a senior is using it?

More than one in three seniors over age 65 fall each year. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says 80% of these falls are in the bathroom.

Elders have a high risk of bathroom-related injuries for many reasons such as heart disease, balance issues posed by diabetes, poor eyesight, and other medical conditions brought by age. Injuries caused by bathroom falls can range from mild to severe injuries. In some cases, fatal injuries result in death. Accessibility and safety of the bathroom are the top most factor that needs to be considered for the elderly.

Here are simple ways to reduce the risks of bathroom hazards. We’re also going to include equipment and tools that will aid in making your bathroom safer to use.

1. Install bathroom-safety equipment

Here is a list of the most basic bathroom aids every elder should have:

Grab Bars

Safety bar above toilet paper roll in bathroom

Safety bar above toilet paper roll in bathroom

Some of you might think that using towel racks as a grab bar is a good idea but the truth is that it’s not a good and safe idea. Towel bars are only used for lightweight materials and using it as support might only cause it to break. It’s better to use a grab bar since it’s designed to hold a person’s weight and aid in leverage and balance. You can install grab bars above the tub, in the shower, and along the walls. Grab bars can also be used by the elders to easily maneuver around the bathroom.

Raised Toilet Seat

A raised toilet seat attachment

A raised toilet seat attachment

These are very useful for elders who have difficulty sitting on toilet seats. Transitioning from a standing position will be less struggling with a raised toilet seat.

Non-slip Bath Mats

You can get non-slip mats for inside the tub/shower as well as for the bathroom floor.

Anti slip rubber mat for bathroom shower or tub.

Anti slip rubber mat for bathroom shower or tub.

Bathroom floor mats for warmth and safety (i.e. non-slip)

Bathroom floor mats for warmth and safety (i.e. non-slip)

It will prevent slipping on the slick tile while elders are getting in and out of the shower. Always have time to check the back of the rugs to ensure that it is still effective. If it looks flaky then it’s time to buy another one. You can also cover the whole bathroom tile floor with a non-slip bath mat material just to make the room super safe. You should also ensure that there are no drainage issues so that your bathroom will have little to no water build-up.

Bath Seating

Bathtub with safety seat installed.

Bathtub with safety seat installed.

Showering should be cool and relaxing so have a bath seat and let your sorrows wash away. Bath seating in a shower or tub is a perfect safety idea. It allows the senior to sit safe and would have a no worries with his or her bathing experience. There are also a varied style for every senior’s needs and wants.

Shower seat

Shower with chair

If you only have a shower, a shower chair can make a big difference safety-wise.

Non-Slip Floor Tile

We have a 2 year old and he’s taken a nasty spill in the bathroom because of a slippery floor after a bath. Just a little bit of moisture on many bathroom flooring materials can create a dangerous, slippery floor for people with no mobility challenges. If you have even the slightest mobility challenges, a slippery floor could be very dangerous. Here are examples of non-slip bathroom floor tiles.

If retiling is not an option, buy enough bathroom mats so that they cover most or all the bathroom floor.

2. Install a Walk/Wheel-in Tub or Shower

Walk-in bathtub

Walk-in bathtub. Source: Home Depot

This is an ideal equipment for anyone suffering from poor mobility. It will aid them in going to bath and will definitely reduce the risk of falling and slipping on the floor.

Wheel-in showers are the perfect solution for those who have small bathrooms. It only needs a small space and has no threshold at all. It also has features like foldable seat, hand-held shower heads, and grab bars.

Walk-in tubs also lessen this threshold and have features like hydro-jets. It aids in relieving those deep muscle pain and aching limbs. Check out walk-in showers here.

3. Let there be LIGHT

Bathroom with ample lighting in the shower and main bathroom area via recessed lighting.

Bathroom with ample lighting in the shower and main bathroom area via recessed lighting.

It is essential to ensure that your bathroom has a proper and adequate lighting since a lot of elderly have poor eyesight. A well illuminated bathroom will aid in preventing slip-related injuries.

According to Lamps USA, a bathroom should have at least 646 lumens of light to cater for seniors 60 years of age. For seniors over 80, it should have 968 lumens of light.

You need to consider improving the lighting fixtures in your bathroom. Ideally, your lightbulb should have 968 lumens to brighten the bathroom well for seniors according to the data above. Of course, you can always install bulbs that have more than 968 lumens if you want the lights to be brighter. It’s also a good idea to install a light switch that has neon indicator so that seniors will have an easier time finding the switch.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if you have all of these safety equipment, you still need to assist and keep an eye of your elders when they’re using the bathroom. Supervision and assistance are nevertheless your best tools when taking care of seniors. To keep your elders safe and secure, a combination of supervision and installing safety equipment is your best bet.