Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our elderly is our responsibility. The home in which the elderly lives in should safeguard seniors from falls by ensuring the floors, furniture, kitchen and bathrooms are designed in a senior-friendly manner.
Bathrooms for seniors demand a special attention when it comes to safety-design for elderly. It is frightening that 78% of seniors fall in the bathrooms and making it even worse, most of the times, these falls lead to serious health consequences.
Over the years, the technical advancements in the aspect of design for aging are helping the elderly to age gracefully. A regular house can now be completely modified as a senior-friendly house with the help of the advanced senior-friendly design features. Considering the fact that the number of falls happening in the bathrooms, it is important to ensure they are well equipped and are able to prevent falls.
In addition to the regular prevent falls measures such as grab rails, water absorbent floor mats and carpets, the following advanced prevent-fall measures could be installed in the bathrooms in order to ensure senior safety.
- Easily Operable Door – The door should be easily operable allowing the seniors to use it without much difficulty. Sliding pocket doors would be very easy to use and requires very less effort. And so the swing-out doors. Expandable hinges on the doors will help the elders to open them widely. Install the hardware that closes and opens the door, slowly and widely.
- Slip Resistant Floors – Installing the slip resistant floor in bathroom reduces the chances of slips and falls at a great deal. Water tends to fall on the floor while using the bathroom and making it slippery. In a few cases, people cover the bathroom floors with water resistant carpets, but they will not last longer. In addition, the carpets in the bathroom could become a house for various bacteria, reducing the hygiene factor. Instead, installing the slip resistant floors in the bathrooms seniors use, would be a good idea.
- Sink with Attached Cabinet – Fix the height of the sink and mirror as per the height of the senior who uses it. It is advisable to use anti-fog mirrors. Also, the sink cabinet should be easily operable. Always, place a set of emergency medicines along with a first aid kit.
- The Toilet Seat – The toilet tub should be placed in the corner of the room and grab rails should be fixed on the walls that are on the both sides of it. The height of the toilet should be customized with a non-slippery seat. Place grippy grab rails instead of the regular stainless steel ones.
- Colour Options in Bathroom – Ensure the colour of the walls is distinct from the colour of the floor. Also, the colour of the objects in the bathroom should maintain some contrast from the walls and floor. This increases the visibility of the appliances, enabling seniors to know what is where.
Ensure there are no sharp edges of the walls and floors of curving the edges. Use easily operable taps and shower-sprays. Additionally, use anti-fog spray before moving in the bathroom after a shower as warm water form fog inside, making it difficult to see. Time to time, check for any leakage or for loosened taps as there are chances for water leakage. Also, keep your elderly informed and explain the usage of any recent changes or replacements that have been made.
Performing the daily activities is the most difficult thing for the elderly with reduced physical strength and cognitive ability. Bathrooms should be designed as a senior-friendly as possible. Take help from the firms that design for agin