Falls are the leading cause of accidents among the elderly. Even a relatively minor fall can impact a senior’s functional ability and quality of life, and many of these falls occur as seniors are trying to go to the bathroom at night. The following tips can help you keep your aging loved one safe during nighttime trips to the bathroom.
1. Secure the Bed
When going to the restroom at night, seniors may get up quickly from bed and become lightheaded. They may also become restless and fall out of bed when they roll over too far. A bed with rails can prevent your loved one from getting out of bed too quickly or falling out of bed while sleeping. You’ll need to provide a means for your loved one to call for assistance should he or she need to use the restroom during the night.
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2. Add More Lighting
Aging eyes don’t adjust well to areas with dim lights. Put a lamp in your loved one’s room that can be reached from the bed without stretching and doesn’t tip over easily. You should also consider installing automatic or motion-sensing nightlights along the path to the bathroom and in the bathroom itself.
3. Remove Trip Hazards
Make sure to remove carpets or rugs that can create a trip hazard, and replace them with slip-resistant flooring. Check the bathroom just before bedtime to ensure there’s no water on the floor that can create slick spots. If your loved one has to navigate stairs to get to the bathroom, use reflective tape along the edges to make them easier to see.
4. Get a New Toilet
Consider switching out your loved one’s standard toilet seat for one with motion sensors that automatically illuminate the seat. Not only can this make it easier to find the toilet, but it can also keep seniors with dementia focused on the task at hand. Most older adults have an easier time using toilets that are a few inches taller than a standard toilet.
5. Install Safety Mechanisms
Grab bars and handles near the bed and toilet can help your loved one get out of bed and sit down on the toilet. Grab bars are inexpensive, easy to install, and readily available at most hardware stores.
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6. Purchase Well-Fitting Clothing
Most seniors have favorite slippers, gowns, or robes. Make sure your loved one’s slippers fit well and have a low nonskid heel. Bedclothes should be easy to undo for toileting and shouldn’t be so loose that they can get caught on objects.
7. Consider an Emergency Call System
Even with the best precautions, falls can still happen. Make sure your loved one has a way to call for help if needed. This can be something as simple as a baby monitor, a bell, or even a bicycle horn that’s loud enough to wake you.
Bathroom safety is just one of the issues aging adults may need assistance with. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Lincoln families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737.