Tips for Seniors Aging in Place
In our perfect world, every bathroom would be designed to allow accessibility for all. Doorways would be wide enough for wheelchairs, showers would have seats, and floors would be designed to minimize slipping.
But in our not-so-perfect world, where every bathroom is not like that, and redesigning your bathroom may not be feasible right now, there are still things to be done that will make your bathrooms safer and more accessible for everyone using them. Review this list in your bathroom and see how much better you can make it with just a few small actions.
Remove any rug without a non-skid backing.
Rugs can help with absorbing excess water and reducing falls, but bathmats and rugs without non-skid backings can slide out underneath you. Replace these rugs with ones that have non-skid backings and check frequently to ensure they aren’t worn out.
Add nightlights in and out of the bathroom.
Nightlights aren’t just for little kids, they help grownups avoid tripping in the middle of the night too. Motion-sensor nightlights are a good solution to minimize sleep disturbance.
Keep the bathroom bright.
Shadows and low lighting can fool aging eyes. Use the highest recommended wattage and frosted bulbs to reduce glare.
Check the temperature of your hot water heater.
Set the water temperature of your shower to 120 degrees or lower in order to avoid sudden increases in heat.
Reduce slickness in the shower.
Add a long suction-backed bathmat each time you use the bath or shower. These provide more security than decals or smaller suction mats.
Keep towels in easy reach of the shower or bath.
You shouldn’t need to lean on a towel bar or slick wall in order to reach them. If they’re currently further away, add a hook closer by for easy access.
These are small things, but they will make a difference in reducing falls and making the bathroom safer as you age. In upcoming posts, I’ll outline some of the bathroom improvements you can make with a few more tools or the help of your handyman; things to look for when moving into a new home; and designing a new bathroom for accessibility from the ground up.