Basic self-care is an important part of independent living. Not only are the activities a critical part of day-to-day living, they also play a special role in a person’s self-esteem.
As you read on you will learn about issues around bathing, toileting, You will learn what can be done to help make the bathroom a safer place for your elderly loved one.
Bathrooms-the ‘skating rinks’ of the house-pose all kinds of challenges to the elderly. Slippery conditions can lead to injuries for people who already are unsteady on their feet. Some elderly people may have trouble sitting down or getting up from the toilet or the tub. Arthritis can affect their ability to manipulate doorknobs and faucet knobs. Fortunately, there are many items available to help make bathrooms safer. And some simple home modifications can help reduce the challenges and risks.
Doorknobs, one of the first problem areas is the simple doorknob. For someone who has restricted movement, a doorknob can be hard to manipulate-making it difficult to get in and out of the bathroom. One solution is to wrap the knob with an adhesive tape that has a rough surface. This increases the gripping tension on the knob and reduces the need to pinch the fingers together to get a grip on the knob. Another simple solution is to change the knob to a lever. You can do this either of two ways. You can buy a rubber lever gadget that attaches to the existing knob; or, you can change the existing doorknob hardware to a levered handle. With lever handles, doors can be opened with the palm of the hand or the elbow.
Doors, should be opened away from the bathroom. This is important for two reasons. First, if a person falls in the bathroom, he or she may be blocking the door. That makes it hard to reach the person if the door opens into the bathroom. Second, a door that opens out enlarges the entrance, making it easier to enter in a wheelchair. It also offers more room in the bathroom to facilitate movement of the wheelchair.
Rugs, avoid using throw rugs in the bathroom and in the entire house. Just a plain bad idea, and nothing comes good out of a person falling when a rug is to blame. A rug is a huge safety issue.
Toilet assists, one answer to help get on and off the toilet easier is to have a elevated toilet, or also called a handicap toilet. You can replace the entire toilet or you may want a less expensive idea and purchase a product that fastens onto a toilet that requires no plumbing. There are also safety frames which you can get that attach to an existing toilet, such as grab bars which come in many styles, shapes and colors.
Tub bars are needed because the tub is probably the most dangerous place in the bathroom. They should be installed by someone who knows what they are doing. The mounts should be anchored into the studs of the walls. Other tub safety features can also reduce anxiety, like a tub with a seat, or a hand-held shower head and a scald-proof valve. A shower mat of foam or rubber should also be place in the bathing area, along with bath seats.
Bathing aids help with bathing, and you may want to consider a wash or shower mitt, and long-handled brushes or sponges, which allow you to not only help with washing your back, but reduce the need to bend.
Please use caution in the bathroom, to ensure the safety of your elderly loved one.