Bath Safety tips for Home Care

 

Bath Safety for the elderly is a real concern for those caring for their aging parents in the home.  Surprisingly to many able-bodied, young adults, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home.  Often accidents are simply waiting to happen.  Recognizing the danger of bathing for elderly adults can go a long way to preventing accidents and making the bathroom safer for family members of all ages.  Surprising studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown an increasing number of non-fatal accidents occurring in the bathroom – and it’s not hard to see why.  The bathroom is full of hard and often slippery surfaces, there are lot of unseen dangers residing in one of the most traffic-heavy areas of the home.

While throw rugs or bath mats may seem like a way to avoid potential injuries, they can often do more harm than good.  They slide over slick surfaces and cause unneeded instability.  If throw rugs are an absolute Bath Safetynecessity in the home, make sure they are secured properly with double-sided or slip-resistant backing.

Line the bathtub and shower with slip-resistant strips or mats to prevent slips and falls in the bath.  This is especially important for elderly people, but will benefit people of all ages.  Slippery surfaces combined with slick shampoo and other bath products are responsible for hundreds of injuries per year in the home.  Accumulated soap scum can also increase the likelihood of a slippery surface, so tubs should be cleaned and scrubbed regularly after use.

Make sure that the bathroom floor is kept dry, especially after a shower or a bath.  Water that is allowed to accumulate can create a disastrous condition for the next person to enter the room.  To prevent leaks from the shower, purchase a weighted shower curtain and nip the problem in the bud before it begins.

Installing safety bars around the bathtub, shower and toilet are essential pieces to bathroom and shower safety.  These rails can give an extra level of stability to slippery situations, and allow for greater balance should a slip occur.  Towel bars are not sufficient substitutes for a grab bar or rail.  they are generally not sturdy enough to support the weight of an adult, and can lead to further injury.

Consider replacing your shower head with a handheld or adjustable model.  Not only will this allow for greater stability in the bath by minimizing the amount of movement required to get clean, but it is also more comfortable to use and easier to handle than a fixed shower head.

Rushing is the lead cause of all bath or shower injuries.  Although life often seems hectic, it pays to take your time and not try to just get it over with.  It’s worth the few extra minutes it takes to ensure safety and prevent needless slips, falls and bruising.

While it may not be possible to prevent all accidents before they happen, their chances can be minimized.  Bath safety is a critical component to elderly care, and simple solutions should not be overlooked.  Feel free to contact us for additional tips, safety recommendations or with any questions that you may have when making your home safer for your aging parent.

Bath Safety Tips: Keeping Seniors Injury-Free While They’re Bathing

Because there are so many ways that seniors may sustain injuries at home, it is important for caregivers to inspect all residential areas and identify disasters waiting to happen. To make that task easier and help families start the year off safely, we’ve put together a half dozen bath safety tips that may help. Each one focuses on the bath tub and bathing. 2015-02-03-bathsafetyHere they are:
  • Adjust the temperature setting on the home’s water heater to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the American Burn Association’s figures, that is the safest water temperature for the majority of seniors. Those with thin skin or neuropathy may need temperatures lower than that. Just don’t go below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, legionellae could establish itself in the home’s plumbing system.
  • Consider installing an LED faucet aerator with temperature indicator or other device that’s designed to let people know whether they’re dealing with hot or cold water before putting their bodies into contact with it. Prices vary and the devices are typically available through durable medical equipment providers, home improvement and plumbing specialty retailers.
  • If temperature indicator faucets won’t work, try installing anti-scald ones instead. They are generally designed to screw onto an existing pipe and do one of two things automatically. It will either add cold water or reduce the flow of hot water when the water temperature within the fixture reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, burns may occur after three to nine minutes of constant exposure.
  • Once that’s taken care of, focus on adding anti-slip materials to the bathtub’s surface and the surrounding floor. There are quite a few materials on the market today that would work, including press-on strips and spray-on coatings. The anti-slip devices shouldn’t end there though.
  • Think about installing a variety of grab bars or tub grips to the bathroom wall and tub itself. They come in a variety of designs, including ones that double as shelving and soap dishes. Ideally, all of the supportive devices should all be professionally installed and be capable of holding the senior household members’ full body weight at any given time.
  • Investing in a series of personal care aids will also improve bath safety. Examples include handheld shower heads, reclining bath lifts, shower chairs, bath seats, bath stools and transfer boards. It should also be noted that today’s durable medical equipment manufacturers make ones that fold up and can be stored away as well as more permanent fixtures.

To find out more about bath safety and how Hannah’s Home Care caregivers may help, please contact us. We’ve been offering unwavering care and companionship for seniors living in, and around, Tacoma, Washington for years.