Elderly Safety in the Bath/Shower

by Brenda
(Canada)

My mother is 82 years old and lives alone in an apartment. She is doing fairly well but is starting to worry about falling in the bathtub.


She prefers to shower and has no safety devices.

What can we do to make the bathtub safer? Should we get a bath seat, bath bench, grab bars or other? What can we do to improve elderly safety in the bathroom?

REPLY from Caring-for-Aging-Parents.com:
Great question, Brenda. Many seniors worry about slipping or falling in the shower and bathtub. It's understandable, the bath/shower is wet, slippery with soap and the surfaces are hard (ie. not a soft landing).

Some ideas for setting up the shower:

  1. Bathroom grab bars are great because they provide a secure surface to hold which reduces the risk of falls. For more detailed information, see our article on Bathroom Grab Bars.
  2. Shower stools provide a sitting surface for elderly who tire easily. For more detailed information about bathtub chairs (including shower stools), Bathtub Chair.
  3. Non-slip mat to prevent slipping on the bottom of the bath tub.
  4. Hand held shower head...or a shower head on a cord - which makes it easier to wash while seated. Also beneficial for seniors who have another person assist them to bathe/shower. For more information on the benefits and types of hand held shower heads, Hand Held Shower Head.


Some ideas for setting up the bathtub, if the senior can step over the tub edge:

  1. Bathroom Grab Bars.
  2. Bathtub chairs for sitting on if fatigue is an issue, Bathtub Chair.


Some ideas if the senior has difficulty stepping over the tub edge:

  1. Shower Bench or Shower Board (to be used in the bathtub). The senior sits on the bench or bath board and swings their feet into the tub.
  2. Bathroom Grab Bars.


It's also a good idea to have an organized, clutter free bathtub area. Keep the soap, shampoo, etc in one area and in reach of the senior sitting on the bath seat, bench or board.

For more detailed information:
Bathroom Products for the Elderly.
Home Safety for Elderly.

If anyone has more tips, please share in the comments.

Thank you,
Tennille

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saved my dads life
by: Steve Peterson

Perfect subject for our familt to be able to share on. About two months ago we thought it would be a good idea if we got my dad a medical pendant. He lives about 1000 miles away and Hw has help about 10 hours a day only.

The one we finally decided on is a new type of pendant that allows a person to wander a long ways from the telephone and it still works. It's the new type that dad could talk directly through the pendant to emergency help.

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Thank you, Steve
by: Tennille

Thanks for alerting readers to this option, Steve.

It's important to remember there are also lots of lower cost solutions to improve bathroom safety as well.

It's also good, if considering a higher-cost option such as the tub-to-shower, to compare the price with that of installing a walk-in tub.

Thanks,
Tennille

Never Step Over That Dangerous Tub Again
by: Steve Foose

I noticed on the blog a great question about bathtub safety and stepping over the bathtub. Here is another option I would like to suggest for the readers. At www.TubtoShower.com you can see bathtubs that are converted to safe & beautiful walk in showers! Thanks!

-Steve

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