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BEACON Senior News

Bathroom updates for comfort and safety

Sep 12, 2016 12:05PM ● By Tait Trussell

Perhaps the most important room in your home to ensure safety is the bathroom.

It can be dangerous, especially as you get older. The Centers for Dis- ease Control and Prevention warns that falling in the bathroom can be especially harmful for old people with brittle bones.

Unfortunately, you just aren’t as strong and agile as you once were. Here are some bathroom updates to help improve comfort and safety.

Raise the fixtures.

My wife and I recently replaced our old toilet, which was 14 or 15 inches tall with a new commode that is 17 inches in height. Those few extra inches make getting up much easier.

We also had a new basin put in that is higher than the former one. We no longer have to bend over when we wash our hands. The spigots are also levers so anyone with an arthritic problem in the fingers or hands can easily operate the faucet, without having to turn handles to get the right amount of flow.

Control the water temperature.

Some seniors prefer a single-handle faucet. If you install this type of faucet, the CDC recommends that you get one with a hot limit safety stop that keeps you from turning it too far hot.

A thermostatic mixing valve can also be installed to allow the temperature to be preselected.

This way, a steady flow of your preferred temperature will continue from the time you turn it on to the time you turn it off.

Install grab bars and seats for convenience and safety

In addition to a regular shower- head, our shower also has a hand- held unit, which is convenient to use when sitting in the built-in seat, which we also have in our shower.

A waterproof chair can fit into a bathtub for washing, too.

Grab bars in the shower are a must. We have two strategically installed 18-inch grab bars in our shower. One can be used to aid in rising from the shower seat. A grab bar near the toilet is also handy for easier rising.

Remove trip and slip hazards

As for the bathroom floor, remove any small rug that might slip under- foot. The bathroom floor should be slip resistant. In fact, soft, pliable flooring material might keep a se- nior from cracking his or her skull in a fall—not a fun way to conclude a bath.

Hire a fair, qualified contractor

Tile Meister can install these safety features, in addition to easy-ac- cess tubs and walk-in showers, and more. For more information, call 244-8453.