Nightingale’s Surprise home care experts offer tips on how to enhance senior safety at home.
Bathrooms can be a scary place for the elderly, especially those at risk for falls. Getting in and out of a slippery tub can be physically challenging and pose a high risk of injury. Additionally, your loved one may struggle to safely get on and off of the toilet. Navigating a small space that is often wet or cluttered can put your loved one at further risk. Arthritis, old fractures or other issues with joints and the back can complicate these simple tasks even more.
However, all it takes is just a few preventative measures to turn your loved one’s bathroom into a safe place while reducing the risk of falls and injury. The Scottsdale home care team at Nightingale Homecare outlines the following steps to improved safety:
Non-slip suction mats or rubber silicone appliqués in and around the tub are an excellent way to reduce the risk of injuries. To ensure a safe transfer, place one mat on the tub’s bottom prior to the bath, and one outside the tub for stepping out onto.
Shower chairs, placed inside the tub or shower, can also ensure more secure bath mobility. Make sure the shower chair has non-slip rubber tips for maximum safety.
Grab bars provide additional support for getting in and out of bathtubs, or for raising and lowering the body once in the water. Place institutional-grade stainless steel bars all around the tub: a vertical U-shaped bar above the faucet assists in entering and exiting the tub, while a horizontal bar at the foot end and on the back wall allow the bather to safely get in and out of a seated position. Installation of a steel bar by the toilet can also provide stability and leverage. Towel bars should never be used as support bars as they are not sturdy enough to hold the pressure and weight needed to adequately support your loved one, and may cause further injury.
Providing your loved one with a raised toilet seat that elevates the toiled 5 – 7 inches can make all the difference. Some options are available with handlebars that improve the ease of getting on and off the toilet even more.
Avoid using a mat in the bathroom outside of getting in and out of the tub or shower. When used, look for mats with suction tips and remove them after use. Mats and rugs can be a tripping hazard and lead to falls and injury.
To ensure all possible safety measures are in place, look to Nightingale Homecare to provide a professional occupational therapy evaluation and fall risk assessment. We’re also on hand to provide a helping hand in the bathroom, always with the utmost respect and dignity, to improve safety even further, as well as a wide range of customized Scottsdale home care services.
Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 for additional resources or to schedule a free in-home assessment and help keep your senior loved ones safe and secure!
Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that can interfere with an older adult’s bathing routine. In this week’s blog post, we outline some of those obstacles as well as solutions for overcoming them.
Fear of Slipping, Falling or Injury
When an older adult has fallen, or experiences symptoms or conditions that may lead to slipping or falling, bath time can be especially treacherous. If your loved one is a fall risk, be certain that he or she has had a professional home evaluation by an occupational therapist, who can make specific recommendations and provide referrals on how and where to have adaptive equipment installed professionally.
Some recommendations for making a shower or bath safe would be a shower bench or plastic pool chair in the shower, hand-held shower head, non-slip mats in the shower or tub, and grab bars professionally installed (not towel bars)! At Nightingale Homecare, we ensure that our clients are equipped with an emergency button that will summon help if there is a fall or emergency. Hiring a bath aide from a reputable Phoenix home care agency like Nightingale is also a good idea for those elders at risk for falling.
Aging skin is more susceptible to dryness due to the loss of elasticity from decreased collagen production. Hyaluronic acid is also produced in limited amounts, and because of this, skin naturally becomes thinner, drier and more fragile. While these signs may be a normal part of aging, they may also be a sign of an underlying medical issue or a side effect of a medication, or multiple medications. Our Pathlink Chronic Disease Management program can help in managing medications and conditions that lead to symptom control and positive outcomes.
For elders living alone and experiencing forgetfulness, sometimes simple calendars, checklists or phone call reminders do the trick. For others suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s, bathing can be exceedingly challenging. Consider speaking with one of our Connections trained experts for the most effective tips in encouraging bathing, such as:
Increase the temperature of the room, and have bath towels, the senior’s favorite soap and a terrycloth robe nearby.
Allow the person to decide if she/he prefers a bath vs. a shower and at what time of day it’s preferred.
Provide non-slip adhesives on the floor surface and grab bars in the bathtub to prevent falls and provide security, and test the temperature of the water.
Allow the person to hold a towel in front of the body, both in and out of the shower if desired.
Sponge baths can be effective between showers and baths.
If the person has difficulty when attempting to shower/shampoo the hair, use a washcloth to soap and rinse hair, reducing the amount of water on the person’s face.
Depression and sadness can lead to isolation and ignoring personal hygiene for even the once most particular adult. The holidays especially can trigger sadness and depression, so be watchful. Be gentle when suggesting bathing during this time. Sometimes all it will take is a trip to the beauty parlor or spa or some nice soaps and new pajamas. A bath aide can also massage your loved one’s back and feet, paint nails, and style hair. Keep in mind that depression, especially when severe, requires psychiatric evaluation and treatment.