For many, aging brings the loss of balance and one’s overall strength. The decline in function can then cause a lot of difficulty in sitting upon and getting up from the toilet or bedside commode. Due to this difficulty there now comes a risk for falls and other injuries. Luckily thru the use of adaptive equipment there are many options to help support the affected individuals so they can use the bathroom safely. At Harmony Home Care, when we do a home safety assessment, we look for the following are 6 great pieces of equipment to use to ensure a safe bathroom.
1) Shower Chair
The shower chair is an important safety item when safety proofing your home. The shower can be a very frightening place for those with instability issues. Bathrooms and shower floors pose a very high risk. Having a good shower chair can help instill confidence in regular bathing and grooming. A transferring shower chair with a transfer bench is an especially safe and useful addition.
2) The 3-in-1 Commode
This portable toilet actually serves 3 functions- a raised toilet seat makes it easier to sit down upon the chair and to get up off the chair. It includes a safety rail to allow the user to gain leverage and put their weight upon it when using it. And it can be used as a free standing potty for use outside of the bathroom, perhaps at the client’s bedside as a bedside commode.
3) Toilet Grab Bars
The use of grab bars that are either attached to the wall or to the actual toilet itself. They help a client use a toilet that the client may have a hard time sitting down upon (Plopping) or getting up from after they are done. It is of chief importance that when selecting and installing these types of grab bars, that they are able to bear the weight of the actual client to prevent any injuries during their use.
4) Raised Toilet Seat
When a client has a lack of arm and or leg strength, balance or endurance issues. They usually will have some difficulty lowering themselves onto a toilet seat and then also have difficulty getting up to a safe standing position. A raised toilet seat can raise the toilet seat height usually 3-5 inches, this in turn allows the client to reduce their amount of squatting and distance to sit on the actual toilet. Most raised toilet seats are stabilized by fitting inside the toilet bowl rim and then the use of brackets or locking clamps to secure the seat to the toilet itself. Additionally, some models also have the added features of built in or optional handles for added ease of use.
5) Toilet Safety Rails / Handles
For a client that can use the arms of a chair to bear their own weight or some of their weight, they have the option of modifying their toilet with a toilet rail or handles. These rails or handles attach directly to the toilet itself, a rail or handle is placed on either side and the client can use them to ease themselves down onto the toilet or help themselves stand up after use.
A commode may be the perfect answer for clients that have a hard time getting to the bathroom in a timely manner. These can be ordered with or without wheels, however a client with balance problems would benefit more from one without wheels, due to its increased stability and safety all around.They can also be used over an existing toilet for ease of use as well. These handy devices can be of great benefit to clients who are no longer safe when walking to the bathroom or may have urge incontinence.
Download our free guide to Elderly Home Safety
While the bathroom can be dangerous place for older adults due to them being more vulnerable to falls and injuries, proactive steps like adding a shower chair to make the bathroom a safer place thru use of the above mentioned equipment can result in a much safer bathroom for you and your loved ones.