Bathroom safety for the elderly and people with dementia

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We have previously blogged about kitchen safety for the elderly and people with dementia, but another room of the house that can be equally as dangerous is the bathroom, thanks to potential flooding, falls and burns.

People with dementia can’t always tell when something has become too hot and might find it tricky working temperature controls on modern shower systems, so think about installing a thermostatic shower, which has clear, simple button that are easy to understand and press.

You should avoid exposed pipework if possible – if not possible, then it might be an idea to turn off radiators and heated towel rails in an elderly person’s bathroom for safety reasons.

If you’re worried about them leaving taps on and potentially flooding the bathroom, you can invest in some flood-proof plugs for baths and sinks that open up when a certain pressure is reached, allowing the water to drain away.

One of the biggest risks in the bathroom for an elderly person or a person with dementia is the potential to trip or fall. Look into installing anti-slip flooring including in any shower cubicles. You should also make sure the floor is all one colour, as a change in colour can be confused for a step and cause a person to stumble.

To aid your loved-one further when they’re moving around the bathroom, think about installing grab rails, particularly next to the toilet, in the shower and the bath, so they can pull themselves up or down if they need to.

Other aids in the bathroom include bath steps and hoists and lifts to help get people in and out of baths. Alternatively, baths can now be installed with a handy door. Try installing a shower seat to help minimise the risk of falls in the shower too.

An elderly person might benefit from a raised toilet seat to make it easier if bending is a problem. This, and the toilet roll holder and toilet roll, should be a different colour to the toilet, so they can be easily located by a person with dementia.

You should always ensure the bathroom is well lit and the light switch is easily accessible too, especially for night time use.