Alzheimers bathroom safety is a priority for all homes with someone with Alzheimer's Disease living in them. Many preventable accidents have happened in bathrooms. It is not difficult or too expensive to make your bathroom a safer room.
First make sure the room has adequate lighting and a night light in place. If there is a window in the room it should have a safety lock on it. The door to this room should not have a lock on it, to prevent the person with Alzheimers Disease from locking themselves in. If you insist on a lock, make sure it is one which can be unlocked from the outside. This is very important for Alzheimers bathroom safety. Should they ever lock themselves in the bathroom you need to get in there as quickly as possible.
The sink area should be clutter free. A screen for the drain will help prevent small items from falling down the drain. If possible it is best to have a single handle faucet to prevent burns (your hot water tank should be turned down to 120 degrees also). All razors should be eliminated except for electric razors. They are the safest to use. It is best to use them in an area away from the sink and water to prevent any electrical shock.
The medicine cabinet and the under the sink cabinet can be extremely dangerous. There should never be any type of medicine in the medicine cabinet. Regardless of how harmless you think it may be. Read the label of all medicines and cleaning products. A good rule of thumb is, if it says "keep out of reach of children" it should be locked up. Don't keep any sharp objects in the cabinet either. Something as simple as tweezers could cause harm if used inappropriately.
The toilet should have a raised seat with grab bars at each side if possible. This will make it easier further down the road. I have found bedside commodes will also work well for this. There are different kinds but some of them will fit right over the toilet. Most people like rugs in front of their toilets or bathtubs. These are a definite NO. Many hip fractures have been caused by tripping over a rug.
The bathtub should have a non-skid mat in the bottom or the non skid decals. It is a good idea also to have a single handle faucet. These help prevent water that is too hot or cold. There are also foam faucet covers on the market now. Most can be found in the child safety area. These help to help prevent harm in case there is a fall. Grab bars should be installed on the walls surrounding the bathtub. It is also a good idea to check towel racks for sturdiness. Most towel racks are not meant to hold much weight. If someone were to grab on to them to steady themselves most of them would come right out of the wall and the person would end up on the floor. Shower chairs are available and make bath time much easier. A hand held shower will be a necessity at some point, it is better tolerated as the disease progresses.
Alzheimers bathroom safety just takes a few simple changes. You will find that these few changes will make your environment safer and you will feel more at ease in your home, knowing you have made it as safe as possible for your loved one.
Do you need help keeping track of appointments, medicines, vital signs, weights, meals, bowels, and behaviors?
Do you know what stage of Alzheimer's Disease your loved one is in?
Do you know what to watch for next?
Do you have sitters coming in and need to have a better system to help them provide the best care?
Does your loved one have behaviors that you should be tracking?
Do you have all of the information written down you need when you go to your doctor visits to help them understand what needs you may have?
The Caregivers Notebook will help you organize and document the care needed in your home and provide clear direction to those who help you care for your loved one.
For updates on Alzheimer's news and caregiver tips, please sign up for my Alzheimer's in your home newsletter