Of course, there are measures that seniors or family members can take to reduce the risk. “Seniors and/or their caregivers can make bathrooms much safer for use by installing a walk-in bathtub, a shower seat, a handheld shower, a raised toilet seat, and (strategically placed) grab bars,” Lauber says.
Wanda E. Gozdz, a certified aging-in-place specialist, agrees with Lauber. Her key bathroom safety tip for caregivers of seniors: “Install balance (or grab) bars.” Registered nurse Sharon Roth Maguire, chief clinical quality officer for BrightStar Care, would add nonslip mats to her wish list for senior bathrooms.
Other bathroom safety tips include skid-proofing the tub, keeping a nightlight on in the bathroom, and keeping the water heater thermostat at no higher than 120 degrees F.
More dangers lurking in typical homes
But bathrooms don’t house all the dangers in the home. One other modification senior experts suggest is improved lighting in every room of the house. “As sight becomes limited, seniors can improve safety by increasing lighting in passageways and entryways,” Gozdz says. Her suggestion is simple: “Improve lighting by using LED lights at entrance ways and hallways.”