For seniors, bathroom accessories should be more about safety and utility than style. As people age-in-place it’s important to recognize that the bathroom poses hazards that put seniors at risk of slips and falls, not being able to safely use the toilet or shower, and even burns from hot water. These safety concerns can be addressed by using some simple, and often inexpensive, bathroom accessories to make the bathroom easier and safer for your loved ones to use.
The 10 Top Bathroom Accessories for Seniors
1. Automatic, brighter night lights
Better bathroom lighting helps seniors see their path and reduce their fall risk at night. People with vision problems often have a difficult time in low light situations and if poor lighting combines with factors such as steam, accidents are more likely to occur. The ideal lighting setup needs to be bright enough so seniors can see but not so bright that it blinds them, which may result in dizziness and a loss of balance. Installing automatic lights is also a good idea as it provides another layer of safety because there’s no searching for a switch and there’s no need for seniors to remember to turn on the lights.
2. Various grab bars
Grab bars come in a wide variety of sizes and models so it’s simple to customize their use in a bathroom to suit a senior’s needs. Wall-mounted grab bars provide secure support to prevent slips and falls and can be mounted in the shower, next to the toilet or anywhere someone needs extra support. While easy to install, it’s important that grab bars are positioned correctly and mounted properly to be effective and safe.
3. Raised toilet seats
This bathroom accessory increases safety by reducing the distance and effort needed to sit and stand. They install easily and greatly decrease the risk of falling or not being able to get up from a seated position.
4. Handheld shower heads
These are a one of the most useful accessories for seniors who are aging-in-place because handheld shower heads make it easier for them to bathe without having to move around as much when showering.
Turning the shower on and off is often difficult for seniors with arthritis, so look to install a shower handle with an on/off switch. Some models also have gentler spray head patterns to adjust the water pressure, which helps with seniors who have sensitive skin.
5. Ergonomic faucets
Common bathroom faucets can be difficult to use for seniors with arthritis or reduced hand and arm strength. Ergonomically designed faucets have smoother, easy-to-turn functions and extended faucets are easier to use without bending or reaching forward in an uncomfortable position. Remember that hot and cold markings on the faucets need to be clear since seniors with vision impairments can easily mistake hot for cold.
6. Weighted shower curtains
This simple accessory reduces slip fall risk by keeping the bathroom floor clear of water. Only slightly heavier than normal ones, the weights in the curtain keep it in place and reduce the amount of splash on the floor.
7. Shower benches and chairs
Shower benches, when paired with a handheld showerhead, are a great way to reduce risk of a fall and gain stability. These accessories provide support and safety by allowing seniors to sit while bathing. Well-designed chairs have slip-resistant seats and nonskid foot tips, making them safe to use on slippery or wet surfaces. They are also available with backs and arm rests for added support.
8. A bath transfer bench (also known as a shower bench)
This accessory is designed for seniors who have difficulty getting into the bathtub. It’s very useful for those who have trouble standing in a shower and aren’t steady enough to use a shower bench. They attach to the side of the bath so a senior can safely sit and then slide across it into the tub.
9. Automatic soap dispensers
These are great for seniors who suffer from arthritis, limited mobility, or memory loss issues. Automatic soap dispensers are easy to use and putting them in an accessible, visible part of the bathroom encourages cleanliness. Because they dispense soap evenly every time it also keeps the bathroom sink cleaner.
10. Low-profile, non-skid bathmats
Traditional bathmats increase fall risk because they’re bulky and tend to slide or flip up. A better option is to use a low-profile, non-skid mat. Thin mats with fully rubberized backings stick securely to the floor. Because they’re so thin, they’re less likely to flip up at the edges and cause tripping. They’re also easier to glide over with a walker.
Experienced and Compassionate In-Home Care
For seniors who desire to age-in-place in their own home, the ability to make that environment safe and accessible promotes independent living. Blakeford’s LiveWell and In-Home Caregiver programs provide that independence where help is always close at hand by offering a suite of benefits customized for every client. For more information on how you or a loved one can take advantage of Blakeford’s aging-in-place programs, contact an In-Home Caregiver today.