You are currently viewing Making the Bathroom Senior-Friendly: Safety and Accessibility Tips
Roger Mommaerts, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Making the Bathroom Senior-Friendly: Safety and Accessibility Tips

As we age, simple everyday tasks like using the bathroom can become challenging. However, with some thoughtful adaptations, you can make your bathroom much safer and more accessible for seniors. Here are some tips for making the bathroom senior-friendly.  

Prevent Slips and Falls

One of the biggest hazards in the bathroom for seniors is slipping and falling, with more than 30% of adults aged 65+ falling each year and 40% of adults aged 85+. Floors that are wet or slippery greatly increase fall risks. Here are some ways to prevent falls:

  • Install grab bars near the toilet and in the tub/shower. Sturdy grab bars allow seniors to steady themselves and prevent falls. Make sure bars are installed properly in wall studs for maximum security.
  • Use non-slip mats in the tub and shower. Adhesive non-slip strips or mats provide secure footing when bathing. Replace mats when they get worn out. 
  • Improve lighting. Ensure the bathroom is well-lit. Consider motion-activated nightlights that automatically turn on when someone enters.
  • Declutter. Remove obstacles and clear pathways to make moving in the bathroom easier.

Increase Accessibility

Along with safety considerations, making the bathroom more accessible for those with limited mobility is key. Consider these accessibility enhancements:

  • Install a raised toilet seat. Higher seats make it easier to get on and off the toilet. Some options feature arms for additional support.
  • Get a portable tub seat or a shower chair. These allow seniors to bathe while seated for comfort and stability. Securely install grab bars around the tub or shower as well.
  • Use a handheld showerhead. Handheld heads enable sitting while showering. Look for adjustable-height showerheads as well. 
  • Consider a walk-in tub or shower. Walk-in tubs have doors and built-in seats, eliminating the need to step over a high wall. Walk-in showers are barrier-free.

Simple Modifications

Small aids and tweaks can also make bathrooms easier for seniors to use. Here are some to consider:

  • Add lever-style faucet handles that are easier to grip and turn than conventional handles. 
  • Use a raised toilet seat with arm supports for stability.
  • Install a bidet for easier cleaning after using the toilet. 
  • Set up a medical grabber tool to reduce bending and reaching.
  • Place commonly used items like soap and shampoo within reach to avoid unnecessary bending or stretching.
  • Install a fold-down shower seat for bathing or keep a shower stool handy. This allows for seated showers when needed.
  • Use a long-handled sponge or brush for washing hard to reach areas while seated.

Ask for Help in the Home

If additional help is needed for your aged parent, don’t be afraid to call a home care company in Oahu, HI. A home aide can help you and ensure seniors receive the highest level of care at home. 

By incorporating senior-friendly features into your bathroom, you can enable better accessibility, safety, and independence. Consult an occupational therapist or home modification specialist for expert guidance on the best solutions for your unique needs and bathroom layout. With some thoughtful planning and upgrades, your bathroom can support daily living for years to come.