Discover your home's full potential with the best accessibility solutions!

    Discover your home's full potential with the best accessibility solutions!

      4 Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors

      Nothing compares to the comfort of a hot shower or bath at the end of a long day. Unfortunately, maneuvering through the bathroom can be a risky endeavor for seniors and people living with disabilities.

      According to the US National Institute of Aging, one in three seniors aged over 65 experience a fall each year, and over 80% of these cases take place in the bathroom. Luckily, there are a variety of simple ways to minimize the risks and enjoy your bathroom to its full potential, regardless of the user’s age or abilities.

      We share 4 bathroom safety tips for seniors, as well as the equipment that can help you continue using your bathroom comfortably. 

      Updated on March 9, 2022

      1. Minimize the risk of falls

      Falls account for more than half of all injuries among seniors, making them the leading cause of injury for the elderly and veterans in Canada.

      The bathroom, with its hard floors, slippery environment, and lack of stable equipment to hold on to, can be a high-risk area for any able-bodied person, let alone for people with decreased mobility.

      Start by removing any tripping hazards, like unnecessary bath rugs and cleaning up any water spills on the floor immediately.

      If you really want to keep a bath rug on the floor, try to stick to low-pile mats as they are less likely to cause a tripping accident. Also ensure that mats have a non-slip plastic or rubber backing on the underside, and secure them with waterproof tape to minimize the chances of them slipping out beneath you.

      In case you are looking into a more complete bathroom renovation, opt for slip-resistant materials for your flooring. The best options are ceramic, porcelain stone (sealed before use), and vinyl for tiled surfaces. Get tiles with a textured surface, matte finish, sand glaze or grout lines to provide better grip. 

      Finally, always make sure the bathroom floor is clear of any clutter, including shampoo bottles, clothes, or even cables from appliances (like a portable heater).

      2. Increase lighting

      Roughly half a million Canadians are estimated to live with significant vision loss, a condition which is most common among seniors. Hence, it is extra important to ensure your bathroom has adequate lighting.

      According to LampsUSA, a bathroom should have at least 646 lumens of light (or 60 footcandles) to adequately cater for seniors aged 60 to 79 years of age. For seniors over 80, this jumps to 968 lumens (or 90 footcandles).

      To accommodate the needs of everyone in your home, it is also a good idea to use variable (dimmable) lights with simple and intuitive controls, and have blinds or automated shades in place to eliminate glare. 

      Consider installing individual lights near the countertops or sink, inside the medicine cabinet and along the shelves, and anywhere else where extra light might be needed. Motion sensor lights are especially helpful in the bathroom- to keep evening bathroom access safe and convenient. 

      To make sure your eyes are working to their maximum potential in the bathroom, consider installing new lighting fixtures and pay attention to their lumen outputs. Also make sure to change your light bulbs regularly.

      3. Invest in Bathroom Safety Equipment

      Over the years, innovations have been created to address bathroom safety and accessibility concerns for seniors and persons with disabilities. 

      These are some of the simple and affordable solutions that can help make your bathroom safe and comfortable to use: 

      • Grab bars and Handrails: Simple and cost-effective way to increase safety in the bathroom. We always recommend installing grab bars or rails on the following areas in your bathroom: 
      • Bathtub area: vertically on the bath entrance, horizontally on the side walls, beside the faucet handles
      • Shower area: should be placed 33 to 36 inches from the floor
      • Toilet area: on the wall/s beside the toilet to support transition from sitting to standing and vice versa
      • In the absence of walls where grab bars and support rails can be placed, a vertical support pole (which attaches from floor to ceiling) is a good option
      • Raised toilet seats: The most basic models easily attach to your existing toilet and can raise the seating surface by up to 6”. The upper part of the toilet seat should be between 17 to 19 inches above the floor. More advanced models, which can be installed to the base of your toilet, allows you to retain its original look and feel.
      • Bath / shower mats: These plastic mats can be stuck to the floor of your tub or shower and are a simple, cheap way to minimize your risk of slipping while bathing.
      • Shower and bath chairs / stools: These are designed to provide support for seniors who find standing up for prolonged periods of time a struggle. Basic models start at about $50- Choose quality models that are made from durable, waterproof materials and come with rubber tips to stop them from slipping.
      • Transfer benches: Allows users to enter the bathtub by lowering themselves gently from a sitting position, rather than having to step over the high wall of the tub.

      4. Remove / minimize barriers

      Stepping over a threshold and into a shower / tub adds an extra risk when bathing, and can be impossible to manage for people who rely on walking aids.

      Walk-in tubs minimize this challenge and also come equipped with extra features like hydro-jets to help relieve aching limbs or deep muscle pain. 

      For smaller bathrooms, wheel-in showers are a great option as they require less space, and generally have no threshold at all. They also come complete with a variety of features, including a foldable seat, hand-held shower heads, easy-to-reach controls, grab bars, and anti-slip surfaces.

      In case you want to maintain your existing bathtub, you can convert it into a walk-in shower or bath by having a tub cut with an anti-skid step done. A tub cut removes the need to step over the high sidewall of a bathtub, which is a big risk factor for falls and accidents.

      A completely barrier-free bathroom is best for individuals with limited balance or greater mobility challenges, as even a low step / threshold might be hard to navigate for them.  

      As much as seniors enjoy their relaxing private time in the bathroom, the high risk of accidents there can make the prospect of going to the bathroom daunting. With these small changes, you can restore confidence and peace of mind and make your home bathroom experience safe and comfortable for all users. 

      We at Home2stay are always doing our best to provide as many bathroom safety solutions as possible. We can install the following for you: grab bars, handrails, raised toilet seats, shower seats, transfer benches, tub cuts, walk-in and wheel-in showers. We can also help you with a full bathroom renovation. 

      If you are not sure where to start, please submit a FREE ASSESSMENT or INQUIRY form and we’ll get back to you at the earliest time possible!


      Updated by Mia Brigette Chua on March 9, 2022

      Mia Chua is an offshore team member of Home2stay, managing marketing, content creation and assisting with overall operations. Accessibility and inclusivity are global issues, and she has big dreams to someday bring what she learns from Home2stay to influence positive changes to her own country across the globe.

      Prior to joining Home2stay, she worked in operations and marketing in the real estate and fast-moving consumer goods industries.

      Her interests include picking up new skills, cooking and baking, health and wellness, technology and social issues.


      Leave a Comment

      We'd Love to Hear Your Thoughts Got something to say? We're all ears! Leave your comments below and let us know what you think. Your feedback helps us improve and serve you better. Can't wait to hear from you!

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Comment Form