Many families decide to become caregivers for their aging relatives, and if your elderly parents move in with you, you may need to make modifications to your home. Your existing bathroom may not be suitable for the needs of your ailing parents, so you may find yourself needing to make modifications. Here are three modifications that can make your bathroom more accessible to your elderly parents.
1. Walk-In Tub
Traditional bathtubs can be hard for seniors to get in and out of, so if your parents have trouble in the tub, consider installing a walk-in tub. These tubs have a door on the front of the tub so your parents can simply open the door and step inside rather than needing to climb over the side of a traditional tub. Walk-in tubs also come equipped with a chair or bench so that your parents can bathe themselves in a comfortable sitting position.
Additional features can be added to walk-in tubs to make them more appealing to the rest of the family. The addition of adjustable bubble jets can make walk-in tubs appealing to children, while adjustable shower heads can make it possible for you to have a regular shower in your new tub. Find a tub for your family's needs through a website like http://www.twincitystairlifts.com.
2. Grab Bars
Grab bars give your parents something to grip as they lower themselves onto the toilet or into the tub. This helps prevent them from slipping or falling, which will help them be both safer and more comfortable in your home.
These bars need to be located in the right places to be helpful. A physical therapist can help you determine the proper locations for your grab bars based on your parents' heights and their limitations. As a general rule, a vertical bar should be mounted at the edge of your tub to help your parent get in and out of the tub. A horizontal bar should also be added. In walk-in tubs, a horizontal bar helps your parent get in and out of their chair, while in a standing shower, the horizontal bar can be gripped to make standing easier.
A horizontal bar beside the toilet—or on both sides of the toilet, if your bathroom design allows for it—can help your parent squat down safely. Grab bars that double as towel rails are also available, and having this type installed can help you save valuable wall space in small bathrooms.
3. Nonslip Tiles
There's a high risk of slipping and falling while in the bathroom. Every year, 234,000 Americans need to go to the emergency room due to bathroom slip-and-fall injuries. The risk is greater for elderly people who may break one or more bones in a fall. To help prevent your parents from slipping and injuring themselves—possibly severely—you should have nonslip tiles installed on your bathroom floor.
Choose tiles with an anti-slip finish to ensure that the bathroom floor has good traction. Glass or ceramic tiles are best for this, but if small children will be using the bathroom, textured vinyl provides a durable yet safe solution. To make the floor even safer, choose mosaic nonslip tiles. Mosaic tiles need a lot of grout lines, and grout provides even more traction and added safety. If you're having trouble selecting appropriate tiles, look for tiles that have met the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for slip resistance.
If your elderly parents are moving into your house instead of an assisted living facility, you'll need to make modifications throughout your home to make them safer and more comfortable. A contractor can help you design an accessible bathroom for your parents that the rest of your family can also enjoy.