Let’s Talk About the Bathroom

Safe bathroom for the elderly

It might be surprising to you to find out just how many medical equipment options are available to help our elderly or those with a disability in the bathroom. While there are certainly just as many options for every room of a home, in this blog we are going to focus on the bathroom, the most dangerous room in the house.

As we age, it becomes harder and harder to manage our body weight. To shift it from sitting to standing, to move the weight over the center of gravity and not fall. This becomes compounded in wet, slick environments. So let’s take a look at some of the medical equipment options available for the bathroom to help seniors or the disabled keep themselves clean in the bathroom.

The Tub: getting in and out of the tub, standing through a shower and getting every nook and cranny clean can be a challenge. Below are some of the options available to assist.

  • Shower Stool – Shower stools or seats allow a person to sit safely while they wash. It prevents standing through a shower and risking a fall. Shower stools come in a variety of styles which include long versions that seats the person outside the tub and allows them to scoot or slide to the inside of the tub. Others are simple seats inside the tub that do not assist in the entrance or exit of the tub.
  • Grab Bars – Grab bars placed strategically helps people with balance issues and/or with weakness that makes it difficult to move body weight with the legs alone. Getting in and out of the tub with a grab bar is much more safe than going it alone and hoping there isn’t a slip or fall.
  • Shower Mats – There are special shower mats made to offer the maximum help with preventing slips and falls for those that still stand in the shower. They work to keep the feet on a dry surface and provide the best grip possible. They are available for any area where slips are possible including around the toilet and general bathroom mats.
  • Handheld Shower Head – It is impossible for someone on a stool in the shower to clean all of their body with a standard shower head. For those who still stand, shifting around to get all areas clean can create greater risk of a fall. A handheld shower head allows someone to remain stationary and still get their entire body clean.

The Toilet: Getting up from a sitting position can be difficult, especially with your pants around your ankles. The elderly can be much weaker and need help from their arms to shift their body weight to a standing position. Below are some options to help your senior remain independent on the toilet.

  • Toilet Safety Rails or Frame – Safety rails work like grab bars where weight can be pulled up along with help from the legs. This item comes in many styles and levels of quality, so be careful when purchasing. But a good quality frame around the toilet can take away the danger of getting on and off the toilet.
  • Grab Bars – If it isn’t quite time for a frame around the toilet, perhaps a grab bar placed in the right spot would be a good idea to be there in a “just in case” type of role. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and if installed correctly at the correct position, could prevent a fall.
  • Bidet – A bidet can be a great option to be very sure of the cleanliness of our seniors who might be not only too weak to properly clean themselves or cognitively not be able to ensure their cleanliness. Bidets run a range of prices and options and it should be no problem to find the perfect one that will ensure cleanliness with a push of a button.

The Sink: At the sink, we shave our face, brush our teeth or tend to our dentures and maybe apply cosmetics. It’s important for the elderly to be able to keep their routines and personal grooming standards. Here are some options to help with that.

  • Faucet Extenders – if someone is in a wheelchair, reaching the water flow from the faucet can be difficult. Faucet extenders bring the flow of the water closer to the front of the sink and allows the person to tend to themselves easier.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Sinks – these sinks allow a wheelchair to roll under the sink bowl. They are at the proper height and do not have any structure underneath or around them to prevent access.
  • Scald Proof Faucet – as we age we are slower to react. If faucet water becomes too hot, there can be a delayed reaction causing burns. A scald proof faucet prevents the water from becoming dangerously hot and prevents potential burns.
  • Magnifying Mirrors – while not a safety feature per se, magnifying mirrors can help people with poor eyesight to still groom themselves. Self esteem and pride are still important even as we age.

Contact NEILS to see how we can help you with medical equipment for your disabled or elderly loved one. These items can go a long way toward them maintaining their independence and being able to stay in their own home.

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