“Bathroom Safety for Older People”

This post will be of interest to those looking to make a bathroom safer.

I ran across a webpage — with great figures — that addresses safety associated with the bath tub, showers, and toilets.

Three short personal notes about safety equipment in or modifications to a bathroom….

When we were remodeling our house ten years ago, we had my husband’s elderly aunt in mind when we installed grab bars in the shower.  We bought the grab bars and the contractor installed them in places he thought they should go.  We were disheartened to learn from the aunt that they were installed in the wrong places to be useful!  It’s important to consult with an occupational therapist or a contractor who specializes in aging-in-place about this sort of equipment!

Second was how we handled toilet safety for my father.  My father was tall and weighed 220 pounds so we needed a grab bar that went into the floor.  We liked the sturdiness of the L-bar (or P-bar) shown in Figure 14 for my father.  We bought a stainless steel grab bar from Adaptive Access (adaptiveaccess.com), and then found a welder to cut the stainless steel bar to the height and length we wanted.  We ended up running two identical bars, parallel to each other, on either side of the toilet.  This really helped my father to sit down on the toilet and stand up from the toilet.

Third is about a portable bidet.  This type of equipment is mentioned below.  We’ve had several local support group members use portable bidets for cleaning their family members’ back sides, and they all recommend the bidet.

So here’s what the experts say:


Bathroom Safety for Older People
by Anna Cathryn Yost, Department of Consumer and Family Economics, and James Martinr, Physical Therapy Education
Published by the University of Missouri Extension
Reviewed April 1998