Plumbing Tips: How to Improve Senior Safety in the Bathroom

If you want to help your senior live safely at home, take a look at their bathroom. Some safety improvements are easy to handle on your own and some may require a licensed plumber. These tip apply to seniors and anyone else who has mobility, stability and balance issues:

Install a taller toilet. A higher toilet can improve bathroom safety for anyone else who has mobility, balance or back problems. The average toilet is 14 – 15 inches tall while increased height toilets are 16.5 inches. This extra 1 ½ – 2 ½ inches makes it easier to get up and down.

Change the faucets. Sink, bathtub and shower faucets are easier to turn on and off because the simple lever handles do not require as much physical strength. Lever handles are also reported to be less confusing for anyone with a cognitive disorder. Be sure the faucets include scald preventers to stop accidental burns from scalding.

Reduce the chances of falls. Be sure rugs are non-slip, or better yet, remove any rugs. Also look for and remove any objects that project into your senior’s path.

Buy a bath chair. Bath chairs and transfers seats can be used in the shower and around the bathroom, and then removed when others are bathing.

Install grab bars. Grab bars make it easier to climb in and out of the tub or shower for anyone with limited mobility. A more expensive option would be the installation of a whole new tub or shower with built-in grab bars.

Consider wall-mounted soap and shampoo dispensers. Eliminate bottles lining the edge of the tub by installing wall-mounted dispensers. Loose bottles can cause accidents and a wall dispenser placed at the correct level can be easier to see for someone with reduced vision.