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10 Bathroom Safety Tips for the Elderly

As we age, our senses of sight, touch, hearing, and smell tend to decline. Our physical abilities are reduced, and certain tasks such as stretching, lifting, and bending become more difficult. In addition, we also experience a slowing of judgment and reaction time. As a result, we cannot respond as quickly as when we were younger. These normal changes in perception, physical abilities, and judgment makes us more prone to accidents. Simple precautions and adjustments can help ensure a safe, accident-free home. For more tips and statistics, visit Learn Not to Fall.

  • Bathroom flooring is matte-finished, textured tile, or low pile commercial carpet (no throw rugs or bathmats).
  • Bathroom has even lighting without glare. The light switch is near the door.
  • The bathroom door opens outward.
  • The bathroom has a safe supplemental heat source and ventilation system.
  • The outlets are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that protect against electric shock.
  • The bathtub or shower has a non-skid mat or strips on the standing area.
  • Bathtub or shower doors are safety glass or plastic and open outward.
  • Grab bars are installed on the walls beside the bathtub and toilet areas.
  • The towel bars and the soap dish in the shower stall are durable and are securely installed.
  • A single-lever mixing faucet is used, or you have faucet handles that are easy to grasp.

If you find that your home does need a few changes in order to make it safe, you may want/need to hire a home repair contractor or handyman. It is important to select a reputable contractor. Here are a few guidelines to help protect you:

  • Ask friends to recommend repair contractors.
  • Get at least three written estimates for the project. Most contractors give free estimates. 
  • Ask for and check references. 
  • If licensing is required in your area, ask to see the contractor’s license. Also ask for proof of insurance and bonding. 
  • Do not pay the contractor in full before the work is done. Some contractors will ask for a small down payment, which is permissible.
  • Get a signed written agreement before work begins or money is exchanged. The agreement should specify both work and payment schedules. It should also detail the type of work to be completed. 
  • Do not make final payments on the project until the work has been performed to your satisfaction. 
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau or the attorney general’s office if you have questions or complaints about a contractor.

Contact me for more help!

Home Inspector – Home Builder and Building Consultant/Coach

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