Grab bars: Seniors may use towel holders as grab bars, which don’t have stability and can dislodge from the wall. Install secured side grip bars by the toilet and inside the shower to make maneuvering easier.
Water temperature: Seniors may be vulnerable to hot water temperatures. Lower the water temperature setting on the hot water heater. StaySafe.org recommends 120 F.
Faucets: Change faucet handles to paddle-style handles rather than knobs. Knobs can be challenging to grip for those with arthritis in their hands. Also, handles that are easier for seniors to use can reduce the risk of the elderly losing their balance as they attempt to gain leverage to turn the water on and off.
Nonslip mats: Nonslip mats or tape strips can be used in showers and tub bottoms, as well as outside of the shower to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Rugs should have rubberized, slip-resistant backing.
Rounded corners: Choose counters and fixtures with rounded corners. Should a senior fall against something, the rounded corner may prevent serious injury.
Shower benches and transfer seats: Benches and transfer seats make it easier getting in and out of the shower. Also, sitting while showering reduces the risk of becoming light-headed or losing balance.
Walk-in tubs/showers: Minimizing the threshold to the shower or bathtub is an important safety feature. Some manufacturers make walk-in tubs with doors that secure and make watertight seals. Showers that don’t have a lip or tub to scale also are better for seniors.
Lighting: Eyesight weakens over time, so improve lighting with combinations of overhead lighting and softer side lighting. Night lights or soft-glowing toilet lights can make it easier to get around the bathroom in the middle of the night.
SOCIAL MEDIA TEXT: Some key modifications can make bathrooms much safer for aging populations.