We live in a time when the population is growing and more people are living for longer. It’s quite likely then that you have elderly people in your life, or are getting older yourself.
Bathrooms can be difficult places to navigate if you have reduced mobility or are prone to falling. So we’ve put together a list of 7 bathroom aids for the elderly that will help to keep them safe.
1. Buy a non-slip mat or some bath steps
Making your bathroom safe for the elderly doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Putting things like non-slip mats, bath steps and long-handed washing aids in your bathroom can make it much easier for elderly people to wash independently.
2. Buy a bath lift
Bath lifts are great bathroom aids for the elderly if they want to sit or lie down in the bath. The lift should be positioned in the bath, and the user has a handheld control to lower them down to the floor of the bath and back up again. Most bath lifts are portable, which means you don’t need to have them in your bathroom all the time.
3. Install grab rails
One of the most simple and common bathroom aids for the elderly is grab rails. Grab rails make bathrooms easier for the elderly to use. Placing rails in strategic places in your bathroom can help elderly people use the facilities.
Grab rails come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and can be textured to provide extra grip. Don’t forget to check that your walls are strong enough before you install them.
4. Get a level access shower or a walk in bath
Elderly people can often find it difficult to step down into a shower or up into a bath. Installing a floor level shower or a walk in bath can improve access and reduce the risk of an elderly person falling over. Level access showers can have slip resistant flooring and be big enough to take zimmer frames and wheelchairs.
Walk in baths come with a door so the user can walk in before they run their bath, and get out easily after it has drained. These two options can be expensive, as they involve making permanent modifications to your bathroom. But there are many tasteful designs available and you may find the changes are worth it.
5. Change your bathroom into a wet room
Turning your bathroom into a wet room can be a great alternative to installing a level access shower. Having a wet room means that there aren’t any steps or dramatic level changes in your bathroom. Many people like to have a wet room anyway, so it’s a popular option.
6. Invest in a bath or shower seat
Buying a bath or shower seat is another way to make your bathroom safe and easy to use. These seats allow elderly people to enjoy a bath or shower without having to lower themselves to the floor or stand up for long periods of time. They have suction pads on the bottom to stop them moving around, and some can swivel and fold away.
Sometimes local authorities provide seats free of charge so it’s worth checking with social services or an occupational therapist before you go shopping.
7. Alter the heights of your toilet and washbasin
Elderly people can find it difficult to lower themselves down and stand up. Raising the height of your toilet and wash basin can make them easier for the elderly to use. Having a height-adjustable wash basin can also help wheelchair users.
So there are many different bathroom aids for the elderly. You can choose which ones you’d like to use now, and always bear in mind some options for the future. Remember we aren’t experts, so it may be worth consulting an occupational therapist or a mobility expert before you make any permanent changes to your bathroom.