Guest Blog – 6 Ways to Improve Your Bathroom for the Elderly

Bathrooms can be a difficult place for the elderly. The design of a bathroom can turn evenbathroom_sign the simplest tasks like showering or using the toilet into an ordeal.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to improve a bathroom’s design to alleviate these headaches. From simple steps like using a non-slip mat to a more involved remodel like installing a walk-in bathtub, there are plenty of ways to make assisting the elderly in the bathroom as painless as possible.

Install a non-slip mat for the tub/shower. This is a simple and cheap way to provide sure footing while getting in or out of the bathtub.

Install a handheld shower head. Handheld shower heads are great in two ways: First, they allow a caregiver better maneuverability if a loved one needs help washing, and second, it allows for sitting down during bathing. Changing out your regular shower head for a handheld one is easy and can be done yourself.

Have a padded mat on the bathroom floor. This one is all about the caregiver’s comfort. If you’re kneeling for an extended period of time, your knees will start to hurt. Having a bath mat made out of memory foam that you can put underneath your knees can be a lifesaver (or at least a knee-saver!).

Grab bars. This might take a little more money and DIY initiative, but once those bars are in, they become invaluable to giving proper care to your loved one. Install the grab bars on walls next to the toilet and in the shower, and as a general rule the wall bars should be parallel to the floor.

These next few tips are more expensive solutions and most likely will require a professional to install, as you’re dealing with plumbing issues.

Walk-in bathtubs and showers. You can eliminate the awkward lifting in and out of the bathtub with walk-in bathtubs. You can choose to turn your existing tub/shower into a walk-in, but there are also models that can be installed in your bathroom too. Contractors take out your old tub and replace it with a walk-in, often with a built-in chair and plumbing fixtures that are easy to use. There are a lot of different models out there, so do some research to find the one that best fits your needs and your budget.

Install a higher toilet. For a lot of seniors, getting on or off the toilet is difficult because of the height of the toilet. Simply raising the toilet (sometimes as little as two inches) can make a major difference. Again, this can be a DIY task of simply raising the existing toilet, or there are many different models that can replace the existing toilet.

These are just six different ways to improve the bathroom for your elderly loved one. Do you have a remodeling tip that wasn’t included?

Chris LongChris Long is a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago suburbs. He also writes on plumbing, bath and toilet DIY projects for the Home Depot website. His bathroom repair tips also include tips on vanities, plumbing supplies and bath accessories for homeowners.

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked in the geriatric healthcare field for over 25 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes" (http://www.AlongComesGrandpa.com). As a Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and enthusiasm to assist corporations in finding solutions to work/life balance challenges and pro-actively educate and empower their employees.
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2 Responses to Guest Blog – 6 Ways to Improve Your Bathroom for the Elderly

  1. Excellent piece of information, I had come to know about your website from my friend. I have read 3 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information and I would regularly watch out for the new posts, Thanx a lot once again! Regards, Bathroom Installer

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  2. Very good tips for elderly bathroom help. I addressed a Senior couple who had a need for a bathroom on the first floor. They didn’t have any money for the modification, hence we looked at a reverse mortgage. They did the reverse and with the funds, modified a dining room to be a first floor bedroom for him and added a first floor bath. The result was they were able to continue to live in their home thanks to the reverse mortgage.

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