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Suggestions on Helping Keep Seniors Safe in the Bathroom

For being one of the smaller rooms, typically, in the house, the bathroom can be the most active when it comes to having slips and falls.  When creating a safe home care environment for a senior,


Home Care in Novato CA: Suggestions on Helping Keep Seniors Safe in the Bathroom

the bathroom should be one of the first places to start.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2011 hospital visits by seniors due to injury from bathroom incidents were 2.7 times higher than other age groups.  Injuries had included things like bruises, cuts, fractures and sprains.  Most had been due to falls.

There are a lot of hazards in a bathroom.  And for seniors, it can be especially dangerous when they lose their balance. This is why it’s important to create a safe home care environment in the bathroom.

Fortunately, there are many useful tools available to help with bathroom safety for seniors.  Too, there are some great ideas that can be implemented to make the bathroom more functional for seniors as well.

Let’s break down the bathroom into four parts: tub, toilet, sink, and floor.

The tub offers unique issues. There is the challenge of having to move over the side of the tub which can be a hazard in a number of ways.  A wet floor can cause a slip. And wet tub can be slick.

So this is where installing rails can be very helpful.  This allows the senior to hold on to the rails and be sure to have good footing before letting go.  Be sure to have non slip material on the bottom of the tub to help prevent sliding.

Another thing in the tub involves potentially standing for long periods of time. Having a chair designed for the bathtub and a removable shower head where the senior can wash him or herself with some control of the water flow and pressure, is useful.

Avoid having harsh items such as brushes and other more abrasive cleaning implements in the tub. A senior’s skin is thinner with age and could get damaged by using these types of washing tools.  Soft items like washcloths work may work much better.

For the toilet, consider a raised seat with handles and/or rails.  The seat shouldn’t be so high as to lift the senior from the ground though should be high enough to make it easier to lower and raise him or herself onto the seat.

The sink offers unique issues, several which can be handled safely.  For instance, for some seniors, standing at the sink is difficult. Having a chair with non-slip legs and which is high enough to allow the senior to reach for implements on the countertop can be helpful.

Also, consider having a mirror that is low enough that they can see themselves in it from the sitting position. And have a rail nearby for them to raise themselves up from the chair when they are ready.

Finally, but perhaps most important, is the floor.  Avoid having loose carpet pieces around the sink, tub, and toilet which can slip or bunch.  Consider getting a non slip floor surface or non skid strips.

Home care also requires ongoing maintenance. For example, be sure to check regularly that the non skid strips in the tub and floor aren’t curling.  Check that any handles and bars attached to walls or other locations are still secure.  Too, consider having a phone or safety button installed in the bathroom within reach of as many fixtures as possible so if the senior needs help, they can call for it.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Novato, CA, call At Your Service Home Care.  Call today! Sonoma County: (707) 238-5700 or Marin County: (415) 942-8955


Lucy Andrews DNP, RN, MS

In 1988, after working as a clinical nurse in the University Health System at UC San Francisco, Lucy Andrews started understanding home care.

She became a discharge planner and immediately fell in love with the concept of home care and the autonomous clinical practice it affords nurses. Dr. Lucy was hooked and has been a strong supporter of home care ever since.Believing people need advocates in healthcare systems, she has championed that cause across the acute care and post-acute care setting.

Dr. Lucy has worked in every aspect of home care from Medicare Certified, DME, Infusion, Hospice and finally Private Duty/Private Pay services. She also works as a home care consultant across the country and as a legal nurse consultant for the home care industry.

Having worked in all areas of home care, Dr. Lucy has a well-rounded perspective of the challenges facing patients, families and the home care industry, and as a provider she advocates for patients through the maze of health care services. Dr. Lucy celebrated over 37 years as a nurse and patient advocate.

Dr. Lucy has a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois.In 1994, she received her Masters of Science in Health Service Administration from St. Mary's University, Moraga, California. Dr. Lucy received her Doctor of Nursing Practice awarded in 2016, graduating with Distinction and a 4.0 GPA.

She did her doctoral work on the global dementia crisis, aging and prevention strategies for healthy living. Developed dementia and Alzheimer's disease plans for aging patients leaving the hospital setting or entering long-term care or home health and hospice environments. She also developed a specialized program for those at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In 1992, Dr. Lucy was designated CAHSAH Certified Home Care Administrator in the inaugural offering of this designation through the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).

She is the founder and CEO of Creative Solutions Home Care Consulting Services and At Your Service Nursing & Home Care, a concierge nursing & home care agency that provides the services she believes are essential for seniors to age in place.She offers a higher level of care allowing people to be in their own homes with an emphasis on independence, safety, and quality of life.

Dr. Lucy is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and sits on the Board of Directors for California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).

She has served on the boards for both state and national board associations, and is currently on the following boards and committees: Board of Directors, California State Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), 2002-present, National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC's) Private Duty Home Care Association Director, and multiple state and national home care committees.

Dr. Lucy goes to Washington, DC, several times a year to advocate for senior services and home care issues. She was past Commissioner for the Sonoma Commission on Human Rights.She is past chair of the local Senior Advocacy Services.