For most people, the most dangerous area of the home is typically the kitchen, but for the elderly or the infirm, the bathroom is more often than not the part of the home where the most incidents occur. It isn’t hard to see why either, the slick, slippery surface, spilled water and condensation and the high lips of baths and showers make it an extremely dangerous place, particularly if you haven’t taken the right steps to effectively prepare it for your personal requirements.
It isn’t just a matter of following the best advice when it comes to disability bathroom design; instead, you need to consider your own unique needs and problems, and practical ways that you can get around or deal with them in this environment.
There are a range of warning signs that show your bathroom, or the bathing environment of an elderly relative, is not fit for purpose.
7 Questions To Ask Yourself With Bathroom Design
Does The Bather Use The Wall, The Towel Rack Or Any Other Surface When Entering Or Exiting The Bath Or Shower? – If the answer is yes, then you really need to ensure that the bathroom has stable, easily-reachable handholds, rails or anchor points which the bather can hold on to. It might not seem like a major issue, particularly if they use the wall to balance themselves, but bathroom walls can be extremely slippery.
Similarly, if they use a towel rack, a shelf or any other surface, there is the risk of slippage or even their weight pulling the attachment from the wall itself. You need to ensure that there are stable, non-slip handholds available in locations near the bathtub or shower, to provide the bather with as much support as possible.
Is The Shower Floor Or Bathtub Noticeable Slippery, Even When Dry? – These surfaces can often be extremely difficult to maintain your balance on, and are regularly the location of falls by even completely healthy people with excellent balance. However, as the bather gets older, the risk associated with falling or slipping hugely increase. This is particularly true in the bathroom, where there are typically sharp and hard surfaces which are unlikely to break in the event of a fall, which can result in serious health issues and physical problems.
You need to ensure that these slippery surfaces feature non-slip stickers or mats to improve stability and hugely reduce the risk of falling, particularly when entering and exiting the shower or bathtub.
Do Puddles Of Water Appear On The Floor After The Bathtub Or Shower Is Used? – If this occurs, then it is likely that you will either need to rethink your bathroom layout completely or install bath and shower screens; alternatively, it could be something as simple as choosing a better shower curtain or making sure that your shower or your bathtub doesn’t leak out onto the floor.
Puddles of water can be hugely dangerous to the user, particularly around the bath or shower as they are required to place all of their weight on one leg whilst exiting them. Another great solution is to choose a walk-in bath or lowered shower try, which require much lower ground clearance and are much safer to enter and exit.
Are Bathroom Accessories (Towels, Soap, Shampoo, et cetera) Difficult To Reach? – If they are, you really need to consider a bathroom redesign. By stretching or straining when reaching for these items, you are greatly increasing your risk as you are more likely to slip or fall during showering.
Is It Difficult To Sit Down Or Get Up From The Toilet Seat? – Although it’s an activity that most of us take for granted, raising and lowering yourself to the toilet seat can actually be quite a strenuous activity. There are ways around this issue, and you can get accessories which will allow you to more gently lower yourself into a comfortable sitting position.
Alternatively, you can find toilets which are specifically designed for those with lowered mobility, which are usually positioned higher and are much easier to sit on.
Is There A Rug Which Tends To Bunch Up And Is Easy To Trip Over? – If the answer is yes, you either need to immediately remove the rug and replace it with a much flatter alternative, or choose to make the most of slip-resistant stickers instead, which can offer the same benefits without the risk.
Is The Path From The Bedroom To The Bathroom Dark Or Hazardous, Particularly At Night? – Whilst it may not technically be related to bathroom design, many people suffer injury whilst making the journey from the bedroom to the bathroom, especially during the night.
You need to ensure that you or your elderly relative has a clear pathway, unobstructed by potential trip hazards or furniture which could potentially be bumped into, particularly if the furniture has sharp or pointed edges.
Your Bathroom Fit For Purpose?
Ensuring that you consider the latest in disability bathroom design is absolutely essential when it comes to improving your, or a loved one’s, safety within the room itself. By taking steps to create a customise bathroom plan that meets your specific needs is absolutely essential – pre-designed mobility-conscious bathrooms are rarely an ideal solution, and you need to make sure that your bathroom designers, fitters and feature providers are experts in their industry.
Create A Perfect Disability Bathroom Plan With Bathtime Mobility
Here at Bathtime Mobility, we will work with your specific needs and available space to create a unique bathroom environment that is as safe and practical as possible. For more information on the wide range of bathroom design services that we have on offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team directly on 0800 29 22 110.