The bathroom is one of the first (and sometimes only) area of the home that needs to be changed as your parents age. It is an area that can be dangerous for seniors as there are numerous opportunities to fall and the surfaces are hard (ie. not a soft landing).

Although extensive renovations can create the ideal bathroom, not everyone can afford the time and money. The following is a list of basic modifications that can ensure safety in the bathroom.

1) Toilet: Make sure the user can get on/off the toilet. If they cannot, there are two ways to make it easier and safer for them.

a) Raise the seat height - You can do this by either replacing the toilet with one that has a higher seat height, adding a raised toilet seat or by putting a commode over the toilet (with a sleeve rather than a pail).

b) Something to pull/push on - You can do this by adding grab bars, a toilet safety frame, a raised toilet seat with handles or a commode over the toilet.

2) Bathtub: Make sure the user can safely get into and out of the tub. Depending on how well they are moving, it might be a good idea to encourage them to shower and not take a bath. Many seniors have difficult getting back up from the bottom of the bathtub.

a) Bath lift - If they want to have a bath and they have difficulty getting back up, installing a bath lift is an excellent solution. I will not address bath lifts in this article but it is an option and most medical supply stores can provide you with information on this product.

b) Bath seat, tub bench or bath board - A bath seat or a tub bench is a good idea if the user has decreased strength, balance or endurance as it provides a place to sit down while showering. A bath board can also be useful if the tub edge is at a good height (ie. not too low as it may be too difficult to stand up).

c) Non-slip mat - For obvious reasons, to prevent a possible fall.

d) Hand held shower - Is very useful for showering while seated. There are a wide variety of makes and models. Make sure to get one that has tubing long enough for their bathtub set-up.

e) Grab bars - It is useful to have two grab bars. One to hold onto while stepping into the tub and another to use while in the bathtub.

f) Tub rail - This device clamps to the bathtub edge and provides a solid hand hold while stepping into and out of the tub.

3) Walk-in shower: Walk-in showers can be a great alternative to the bathtub. However, although walk in showers are easy to get into, they can be problematic if they are small. The reason being is that some seniors need to sit down to shower and a stool may not fit.

a) Shower stools - Some seniors prefer (or need to) sit down to shower as they have decreased strength, endurance or balance issues.

b) Hand held shower - Same reasons for having one in the bathtub, it makes it easier to shower while seated.

c) Non-slip mat - To prevent a possible fall.

d) Grab bars - One grab bar to hold onto when stepping into the shower and another to hold onto while showering.

These basic modifications can make the bathroom safer and easier to use for your aging parents.

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Author's Bio: 

Kevin is a member of Caring for Aging Parents