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Bathroom Safety for Seniors

by Ed Dunning

Growing older may seem like a natural, graceful process, but the progression is often all but smooth.  As we age, many activities that we used to do without a second thought become difficult and, in some cases, can even be dangerous. 

One area of independent living where seniors face the most challenges is in the bathroom.  Maintaining the ability to care for one's own hygiene is essential to a healthy self-image and overall happiness.  For seniors who are strong mentally, but suffer from physical ailments like arthritis or other joint/mobility problems, the struggle with independence can be very difficult. 

Most elderly accidents happen in the home and more specifically, they happen in the bathroom.  Developing senior friendly bathrooms is a key element to safe, independent living.  There are simple items that can be purchased and installed to increase bathroom safety for seniors.  Raised toilet seats and toilet safety frames can make the rise and descent from a toilet less of a strain on aged or injured knees and hips.   If limited upper mobility is a problem, the addition of a self wipe toilet aid or Bottom Buddy can make cleaning after the toilet easier as well. 

Speaking of hips, a slip in the shower can shatter an aged hip all too quickly.  Fractured hips mean months of immobility and physical therapy.  Make a safe senior shower with shower chairs , or a shower bench .  Include a shower transfer bench to make getting into the tub easy as well.  A single grip portable grab bar can make life much easier as well since it can be moved to different areas of the bathroom and used as needed.

Even the simplest thoughtfully placed item like table top toe nail scissors can transform a bathroom accident waiting to happen into a bathroom safety net for seniors.  We spend the first part of our lives learning to be independent and follow that by putting our independence to work for the larger second portion of our lives.  As we round the bend from youth and middle age, holding onto our independence becomes even more important.  Support the seniors in your life by making bathroom safety for seniors a priority and supporting independent living for as many years as possible. 

This article was published on Sunday 21 February, 2010.
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