How to Modify a Bathroom to Make It Senior-Friendly

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As people age they could face any number of related health issues, from common problems with eyesight and reflexes to more serious ailments like disease, injury, and infirmity. Whether you have an elderly relative living in your home, seniors frequently visit, or you’re elderly yourself, you may want to consider modifying your bathroom to compensate for the challenges that are part and parcel of aging.

Of course, every senior will face different challenges and concerns. However, there are some common issues that could arise as you start to get older. Here are just a few ways in which you can modify the bathrooms in your home for increased safety and a senior-friendly atmosphere.

Toilet

Slipping, tripping, and falling can all be catastrophic for seniors, causing serious injury or even death.  Unfortunately, these occurrences are among the most common accidents in the bathroom. One area of concern is the toilet.

If seniors have to reach or twist to get at toilet paper, they could easily fall off the seat. The simple solution is to place the toilet paper roll within easy reach of the toilet from a seated position.

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Many seniors also have trouble sitting and standing. In some cases, the assistance of a caretaker may be necessary. However, you could also install railing near the toilet for added support and stability for seniors that are still able to manage on their own.

Tub

Tubs can pose a major risk for seniors in a couple of ways. First, getting into and out of them can be difficult, especially if the side of the tub is fairly high. Installing a walk-in tub could solve this problem, or alternately, you might skip the tub entirely and install a shower.

The nice thing about the shower is that you can opt for a roll-in model, complete with railings and a bench or a handicap shower chair, just for example. Whether an elderly person is handicap or not, these amenities may help to make entering, exiting, and using the shower easier and safer.

Don’t forget that showers and tubs can be slippery. Installing rubber tread can help here, and you should also consider using such products to replace rugs and bath mats outside the shower that could constitute slip, trip, and fall hazards.

Lighting

As we get older our bladders don’t tend to work as well as they used to. As a result, many seniors have to use the bathroom frequently, even during the night. Adding nightlights or automatic lighting in bathrooms and hallways can make getting to the bathroom at night a lot safer.

Door Locks

Seniors want to preserve their privacy just like everyone else, but you need to make sure you can gain entry to the bathroom in case a senior has an accident or injury and cannot open the door. If you’re going to leave locks on bathroom doors, at least make sure you have a key for emergency situations.

Install a Phone

Whether seniors live alone or you’ve invited an elderly relative to live with you, it’s not a bad idea to ensure easy access to communication in case of an accident. Installing a phone in the bathroom gives seniors the best chance to reach help in an emergency situation.

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