It’s probably no surprise that the bathroom in your home can be a dangerous place.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that nearly a quarter of a million people are injured in the bathroom each year, and as we get older, those injuries become more and more serious.   Add memory and dementia issues to that, and it could be deadly.

Helen Guzzo, ma Manager, Calhoun County Senior Services, was a guest on the Miles for Memories segment on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.

Guzzo said there are some things that anybody should consider doing to make their bathroom a safer place.   The CDC says that nearly 7 out of 10 accidents happen in the tub or shower.

Here are some things that can help:

  •              A handheld showerhead
  •              Lots of grab bars
  •              A rubber no-slip shower or tub mat
  •              A padded shower bench or chair
  •              A no-slip rug outside the shower or tub

For people with back problems or mobility issues, a raised toilet seat and grab bars next to the toilet can help a lot.

Guzzo also notes that people suffering from dementia can compound the safety issues, and there are some things to consider that will help prevent mishaps.

“It’s good to leave the bathroom light on at night, but an automatic night light would be even more effective.”    These lights could be activated by a light sensor or motion sensor and would always ensure that adequate lighting is in place at any time of the night.

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A manual buzzer or bell can be installed to give someone the ability to summon help.   There are many senior alert devices on the market.  

When it comes to items in the tub or shower, Guzzo suggests that you simplify and only have the necessary items out.  “Leave only one of each item, such as soap or shampoo, in the bathing area to avoid confusion or decision making.  It’s easy for some people to grab the wrong thing.  And it’s a good idea to use “no tears” baby shampoo.   Put shampoo and conditioner in small squeeze bottles for easier handling.  You could also try putting a bar of soap into a pantyhose leg to make it less slippery, but take it out of the pantyhose after the bath and let it dry so germs don’t build up.

Another tip to head off problems before they happen is to remove bathroom door locks.

Guzzo says there are some great programs in Calhoun County to help make the home a safer place, especially for those on fixed incomes.   One is the Handy Helper Program run by Senior Services of Southwest Michigan at 866-200-8877.  They can install safety grab bars in the bathroom.

Another option is the Minor Home Repair program run by Community Action at 269-965-7766.  They can do more extensive safety modifications for repairs up to $3,500.


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