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Seniors Health

Staying at Home: Tips for Your bathroom

​​​​Bathroom Safety for Older Adults

The bathroom is a common place where people may get hurt. Wet, slippery surfaces and hot water can cause injuries. By taking a few simple steps, you can get rid of some hazards in your bathroom.

Water Temperature

Age, some medications, or health conditions like diabetes can make your skin less sensitive to temperature. You can burn yourself before you realize the water is too hot.

You can protect yourself from burns:

  • always turn the cold water on first and turn the cold water off last
  • use a thermometer to check the water temperature before you get in the tub or shower. A safe water range is between 38 °C to 43 °C (100 °F to 109 °F).
  • use a grab bar for balance. Do NOT hold onto the hot water tap, because you might turn the water on if you slip.
  • if you live in your own house, keep your water heater temperature below 49°C (120 °F)

Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

Balance problems, water, and soapy surfaces can make it easy to slip and fall in the bathroom.

To prevent slips and falls:

  • use grab bars in your bath or shower to help you get in and out. You can replace towel racks with grab bars and still hang your towels on them.
  • use a bath or shower mat made for inside the tub, or put in non-slip treads. Replace them if they do not stick.
  • use a bath or shower seat if your legs are weak, your balance is poor, you have dizziness, or you get tired quickly
  • make sure the floor is dry outside the tub or shower. If you use a rug, make sure it has a non-skid bottom. Rubberized backings do wear out, so replace the rug if it slips. It usually needs replacing once a year.
  • put a light sensitive nightlight in the bathroom
  • ensure good lighting to get to the bathroom at night
  • keep toiletries in reach to avoid stretching or bending down. You can avoid losing your balance when you reach.
  • use a raised seat on your toilet or grab bars beside the toilet. This will help you get up and down more easily.
  • bring a phone into the bathroom or use a medical alert system. You will be able to get help quickly if you fall while showering or bathing.

Bars, bath seats and raised toilet seats are available to purchase or borrow. An occupational therapist can help you access these and other items. To find an occupational therapist go here. To learn about the Alberta Aids to Daily Living Program (AADL) that may provide some financial help for these and other supplies, go here, or call toll free: 310-0000, then 780-427-0731.

Medications

  • Store medications including prescriptions, over the counter medications, vitamins, and herbal remedies in their original packages.
  • When taking your medication, double check the label. Make sure you are taking the right amount of the right medication at the right time.
  • Do not use the spoons in your kitchen drawer to measure. Use the dose cup that came with the medication or get an oral syringe from the pharmacist.
  • Keep all medications out of the reach of children.
  • Keep children away from tobacco products and e-cigarette cartridges.

Chemicals

Many items in our homes can be dangerous to children and adults. We often keep them in places where children and pets can reach them. Here are some tips to stop someone from being poisoned.

  • Keep cleaning products and other poisonous products out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep products in their original containers.
  • Keep the poison control centre number posted so it is easy to find if you need it. The number is: 1-800-332-1414.
  • The pet poison helpline is 1-800-213-6680.
  • Read all of the instructions for how to use a product.
  • Pay attention to warning labels.
  • Do not mix products.​​​
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Current as of: April 1, 2019

Author: Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services