Don’t overlook the importance of bathroom safety as a caregiver

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Every time I hear about an older celebrity who suffers a serious injury or dies after a fall in the bathroom, I’m reminded of how treacherous that room of the house can become for those aging in place. I became personally familiar with the danger the bathroom can present when my mother broke her shoulder after falling off the toilet in the middle of the night.

The good news is that there are fairly simple and inexpensive ways to make a bathroom safer for an elder loved one. BuyMedical.com offers the following five recommendations from Invacare Homecare for helpful bathroom aids.

Transfer bench: When I began to help my mother get baths at home after her surgery, I realized how precarious the transfer from the bathtub to the bathroom could be. Getting a transfer bench made all the difference, allowing her to easily transfer herself from tub while seated. She would just swing her legs over the tub to the bathmat, then hold on to the bench as she lifted herself upright.

Shower chair:  I can vouch for the benefit of a shower chair, as my mother used hers for the last couple of years of her life. Bathing can become a real chore and risky as we get older, and our mobility fades. But good hygiene is important both physically and mentally. A shower chair reduces the risk of falling by allowing one to sit comfortably while getting a shower, instead of trying to lower themselves into the bathtub.

Toilet seat frame: A toilet seat frame offers sturdy support for those who have trouble getting up and down. This helps reduce the risk of falls, slips and injuries.

Raised toilet seat: This is one of those things you don’t think about until you need one. Whether due to recent surgery or just difficulty in lowering the body, a raised toilet seat offers affordable convenience.

Commodes: I wish my mother had received her portable commode sooner, because I think it would have made the last few weeks of her life easier. Unfortunately, the home hospice group didn’t deliver it until she was almost bedridden, and she only used it once. Supporting an elder loved one’s continence is vital for their well-being.

Not only do these bathroom safety aids help your elder loved one, they make your job as a caregiver easier as well.

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