National Bath Safety Month: Elderly Care Makes Bathtime a Safe Time for Seniors

Elderly CareHow could something that’s so comforting and soothing, like a nice, warm bath, become one of the biggest dangers to seniors? The truth is, the combination of slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water creates the perfect storm for a fall risk – one of the most severe risks to seniors.

January is designated as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great time for both training and assessment to ensure your senior loved ones’ bathroom environments are as safe as possible.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 370 people of all ages suffer tub or shower-related accidents each day in the United States, but elderly care services, like those provided by Regency Home Care in Atlanta, GA, can help reduce bathtime hazards and keep seniors safe and secure. Because most falls in the home take place in the bathroom, AARP advises taking the following preventative measures:

  • Put in grab bars for the toilet, shower, and tub
  • Install non-skid tile or use non-skid bath mats
  • Set the temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees F or lower to prevent scalds
  • Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub if prone to falling when stepping over the tub wall
  • Provide a bath chair to enable bathers to sit while bathing
  • Apply no-slip strips to the tub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
  • Wipe up any water spills on the floor immediately

It’s also a good idea to assess whether it could be worthwhile for a senior to make use of a mobile commode, which may be placed at a bedside to relieve nighttime bathroom requirements. Bedside commodes can reduce the risk of evening falls, and may also be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to look for when purchasing a commode:

  • Non-removable armrests
  • Rubber tips on the legs as opposed to wheels
  • A frame that is sturdy
  • Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)

Standard, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as high as $3,000.

AARP also provides a helpful bathroom checklist with design directions that can help seniors and their families make the most appropriate home modification decisions.

Regency Home Care of Georgia can additionally help with bathroom safety for seniors. We can provide an in-home safety assessment and suggestions, and by offering expert, hands-on elderly care assistance at bathtime, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs – always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at (678) 999-2446 for more information about our wide array of Atlanta in-home care services.

Personal Care Tip: Creating Joy Around Bath Time

Personal CareWhat feels more soothing than sinking into a warm, relaxing bath at the end of a lengthy, demanding day? While most of us relish the wonderful comfort that a bath brings, for seniors, especially those struggling with the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, personal care is certainly not blissful.

For a number of reasons, such as memory issues, feelings of vulnerability, or physical discomfort from the pressure or temperature associated with the water, assisting a senior with washing can feel more like entering a battleground.

Regency Home Care in Atlanta wants to help restore the joy of bath time for both the senior and his or her caregiver with these personal care tips:

  • Ensure safety. Keeping the bath area free from hazards is crucial. Make sure that:
    • Grab bars and mats that are slip-resistant are strategically placed in and around the tub
    • The water temperature is comfortable (around 100 – 101 degrees is best)
    • By no means should you ever leave a senior with dementia unsupervised in the bathroom
  • Be innovative. Who says one person’s bath time experience has to be like everybody else’s? Try thinking outside of the box to find what works best for your senior loved one:
    • In the event that the senior delights in music, try singing or playing some favorite songs as a distraction
    • Try a “dry” bed bath using no-rinse soap, dry shampoo, and a warm, moist towel
    • Each day over the period of a week, incorporate a seven-day bath, which involves cleaning just a portion of the body
    • Helping the older person with both toileting and cleaning simultaneously can be effective for those experiencing a high level of anxiety or agitation
  • Allow control. One of the most difficult aspects of being cared for is losing independence. Assist the older adult to regain a sense of control through:
    • Offering choices
    • Enlisting his or her support (i.e., holding the washcloth or bottle of shampoo)

It could take some trial and error to find out what makes your elderly loved one most comfortable. Additionally, she or he will detect any frustrations you’re feeling, which could escalate the level of agitation for both of you. A healthy dose of persistence and a sense of humor can go a long way towards helping the older adult relax.

For more personal care tips on how to turn tears to smiles during bath time, contact Regency Home Care. Our professional in-home senior care experts can assist with a complete range of personal care services, including washing, toileting, dressing, hair and skin care, and much more. Partnering with Regency Home Care gives family members the freedom to spend more quality time with their senior loved one, and also to take a much-needed break to rest and recharge. Contact our Atlanta senior care experts today at (678) 999-2446 to learn more.

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