Adapting Your Bathroom to Accommodate an Elderly Relative
These days, multi-generational families are not as unusual as they used to be. Once again, people are choosing to live together as one big family.
I know quite a few families where three, sometimes four, generations are living together under one roof. Usually, this is because older relatives have found themselves no longer able to look after themselves, and understandably, they have not wanted to move into a care home.
In some cases, the family has had the space to set up a separate living area for their relative. But for most families, this is not possible. In that situation, everyone has to share the same space.
Overall, after a few months of getting used to each other, these living arrangements still work out well. Usually, an elderly relative can easily get around and use most of the rooms in the house. However, there is one exception, and that is the bathroom.
Why it is wise to adapt your bathroom
For someone that finds it hard to get around, an ordinary family bathroom can be a potentially dangerous place. It is all too easy for an elderly person who is not steady on their feet to slip and fall. Often, they simply do not have enough dexterity to get in and out of the shower or bath safely.
Fortunately, it is not difficult to adapt your bathroom and turn it into a safe place for your elderly relative to use. These days companies like Better Bathrooms sell everything you need, which enables you to do most of the work yourself and keep the cost down.
The changes you should consider making
What changes you need to make depends largely on how strong and healthy your elderly relative is. Most of the enhancements can be done on an as needed basis. For example, there is no point in installing a hinged grab rail next to the toilet if the older members of your household do not need to use it. You are far better off waiting until they need an aid like that and installing it then.
Bath and shower grab rails
The majority of bathroom accidents happen when people are getting in and out of the bath or shower. Therefore, the first enhancement you should consider making is installing grab rails in those areas.
A shower seat
Adding a shower seat is usually also a good idea. Being able to sit down allows someone with limited mobility to wash their lower extremities without the risk of losing their balance.
A walk-in bath
If older members of the household suffer from debilitating conditions like arthritis, you may want to consider installing a walk in bath, as well. Being able to enjoy a long soak will ease their aches and pains as well as improve their ability to stay mobile during the day. These baths look just like an ordinary bath does, it just has a door in the side, which enables the user to walk into it rather than have to climb in.
The above covers the main adaptations, but you can read more about bathroom safety for seniors, here.