These home safety tips are important guidelines for how to organize your bathroom if you are taking care of elderly parents. Replacing bathroom towel racks with grab bars can help to prevent falls in the elderly. Installing a handheld shower will help to maintain independence. Providing safe care for the elderly person in your home might even require complete removal of the bathroom door.

When an elderly person is injured more than 50% of the time it happens in their own home. The bathroom is a good place to start with fall prevention in the elderly because it is one of the most dangerous areas in the home.

Wet slippery surfaces can easily create a fall risk and a number of activities that are performed in the bathroom require muscle strength and dexterity.

Getting on and off a toilet or in an out of a bathtub can be a challenge if you have declining muscle strength in the legs or mobility impairments in your knees and hips.

Falls in the elderly cause significant morbidity and mortality. Fall related injuries in Canada, among those 65 and older, have been estimated to cost the economy $2.8 billion a year. The cost of one fractured hip is estimated by Health Canada to be between $24,400 and $28,000 in direct health costs.

How to Organize Your Bathroom for Home Safety - Tips to Prevent Falling

It doesn't matter where you may be taking care of elderly parents the bathroom can be dangerous place. Here are some steps you can take to prevent falls and improve safety in the bathroom.

  • Remove all bathroom towel racks - yes all of them. If you are taking care of elderly parents with mobility challenges you may have already noticed that it is a natural instinct to grab onto furniture or any surface at about waist height. Bathroom towel racks that are mounted on the wall or the back of the door are in just the right place but they are not strong enough to hold up an elderly person and may break.
  • Replace all those towel racks with safety grab bars - With grab bars instead of towel racks installed your elderly loved one can hang a towel there or grab onto it for safety and it will stand up.

    Grab bars are also useful mounted near the tub, the toilet and even inside the shower or the tub. They come in many different lengths and can be mounted vertically, horizontally, or diagonally and must be secured into a stud.

  • Use a bath transfer bench to prevent having to step over the edge of the tub. This is a bench that sits in the tub and outside of the tub straddling the outer wall of the bathtub. It also provides a seat while showering.
  • Use a safety bath mat to prevent slipping or apply one of the liquid nonskid coatings on the floor of the bath tub.
  • Install a hand held shower wand - This promotes independence in reaching all body parts for hygiene care without bending or reaching.
  • Install a raised toilet seat or replace the existing toilet with one of the newer higher seat heights. I can almost guarantee that in the future the majority of toilets will be at this new height. It is simply easier to get on and off.
  • Make sure the bathroom door opens outward - If not remove the door completely and install a curtain or even a bifold type door.

This last strategy may sound like a drastic measure but think about what might happen if your elderly parent falls in the bathroom. Will you be able to open the door and get in there as a first responder? Will the paramedics be able to get in there if your parent is lying on the floor?

When implementing home safety tips for taking care of the elderly the welfare of the person first must come first. In the event that the door must come off privacy accommodations can be made by using a heavy curtain hung from a rod that is firmly secured to the door frame. You can even use velcro type fasteners to fasten the curtain to the wall if extra privacy is needed.

Taking care of elderly parents can become especially challenging when mobility issues create a safety risk. These home safety tips can be used in your bathroom to prevent falls in the elderly and improve independence.

In the event that your parent needs assistance, these bathroom alterations will also make it easier for an attendant to help with bathing and toileting.

Author's Bio: 

These home safety tips come from first hand experience when taking care of elderly parents. Beverly OMalley uses all the organizing tips and ideas offered at for creating a safe and organized home for everyone in the house.