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How to Make Bathing Safer for a Senior

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on December 14, 2015

Daily activities can become difficult for seniors who live on their own, especially those who don’t have assistance. Seniors are often less agile, experience more pain, and get tired more easily than younger adults. One of the most challenging tasks seniors face when receiving Phoenix home care is bathing safely, but there are easy ways you can make the shower or bathtub a safer space for your elderly loved one.

Optimize the Bathing Space for Safety

If your loved one has limited mobility, install a grip bar in the shower or bathtub so he or she has something to hold onto when getting in and out. Additionally, put down nonskid bath mats in the bathing space and a nonskid rug on the bathroom floor. The tile and laminate used in many bathroom floors can be slippery and cause your loved one to fall. If your loved one doesn’t already wear an alert pendant, make sure a phone is somewhere near the bathroom in case he or she needs to reach you or a Phoenix caregiver in the event of a fall.

Purchase a Shower Basket

A shower basket in or beside the bathtub is a great option for storing the supplies your loved one needs for bathing. If the basket sits in the tub, it should be able to drain and it should be waterproof. If it sits on the floor outside the shower, it should not be prone to seeping through the bottom when wet. Once the basket is in place, help your loved one collect any shampoo, razors, sponges, shower caps, and other bath supplies he or she uses and put them in the basket. Your loved one will only need to bring a towel and washcloth to the bathing area and won’t have to get in and out to grab something he or she forgot. This can help prevent fatigue and falls.

Check the Water Heater

A senior’s skin is usually thinner and more delicate than a younger person, meaning a water heater can easily give your loved one a burn if the water in the shower gets hot suddenly. While the default setting for most water heaters is 140 degrees, few people ever need water this hot. Generally, setting the water heater to 120 degrees is sufficient and can help keep your loved one safer and more comfortable when showering.

Install a Handheld Shower Attachment and Shower Seat

If your loved one prefers showers but has trouble standing for long periods of time or does not have a tub, consider installing a shower bench and a handheld shower attachment. With a nonskid bench, your loved one can sit rather than stand but still take a shower. A handheld attachment provides greater control over where the water goes, which makes showering while sitting down easier. Your loved one won’t have to twist to reach the water stream and can aim it wherever he or she wants it to go. An added bonus is your loved one can enjoy a gentle back massage from the wand before getting out of the shower.

A few simple changes to the bathroom can make bathing simpler and safer for your loved one. If he or she needs additional assistance with mobility or general safety when bathing, a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. In addition to helping with bathing and grooming, our caregivers can assist your loved one with a wide variety of other daily tasks such as cooking, exercise, and light housekeeping. For more information on live-in and part-time care Phoenix families trust, call a friendly Care Manager today at 602.388.1085.