The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in the home and it can also be one of the most dangerous. The very nature of the tasks performed in the bathroom and the physical movements needed to manage those tasks can make this room very challenging for an elderly adult who is living with mobility issues. As a family caregiver, it is important to find ways to help your parent cope with their mobility issues that are safe, healthy, and effective, and promote a greater sense of independence. Fortunately, with some simple changes to your parent’s bathroom, you can make this space safer and more accessible for your parent so they are able to better cope with mobility issues while managing their personal care needs.
Some changes to make in your senior’s bathroom to help them cope with mobility issues include:
- Install grab bars throughout the room to help your parent maintain their balance and navigate the space effectively. These should be installed at regular intervals, installed properly, and be rated to handle your parent’s weight. Be sure there are bars available inside the tub or shower for extra support during the potentially dangerous act of bathing.
- Add mats to provide friction over the slippery floor. These can be particularly beneficial when your parent is getting out of the bath or shower and may be slick from the water and bathing products.
- If space allows, add a bench or chair so your parent can sit down while performing care tasks such as brushing their teeth or shaving.
- Be sure the toilet paper is placed close to the toilet so your parent does not have to lean or reach to access it. For a senior with mobility issues, this movement can lead to a fall.
- Replace the tub with a walk-in tub or shower.
- Replace the conventional toilet with an ADA approved elevated version that reduces the distance your parent must sit and stand.
- Use a countertop caddy to organize personal care products rather than keeping them in the cabinet, which might be difficult to access for an elderly adult with mobility issues.
Starting elderly care for your aging loved one can be one of the best decisions you make them as a family caregiver. An elderly home care services provider can step in to handle specific care tasks that are sensitive or challenging for you and for your aging parents. This can be particularly beneficial for tasks such as bathing and grooming that may cause an emotional response from your parent, or would be difficult for you. A care provider can offer neutral professional care that is respectful and maintains your parent’s dignity at all times. Not only does this help to ensure your parent can manage more of their own personal care tasks on a regular basis, supporting better mental and emotional health and well-being, but it also can allow your parent to stay safer while keeping their personal hygiene consistent and healthy.