ALOHA FROM LINDA: This isn't going to be a sexy topic, but after starting on a home renovation project recently, I realized that a lot of senior falls happen in the bathroom, myself included. Here are a few preventative fixes to give you and your family some peace of mind.
First, if using throw rugs, make sure they have a rubber backing. It prevents slips and falls. Suction mats or rubber silicone appliqués inside the tub would also be helpful.
Toilet seats, which are usually 15-17 inches high, can be tough for those of us who have hip, knee or back problems. There are removable raised toilet seats that can be inserted onto the bowl. Some are plastic molded seats and can raise the sitting area by 4 inches, while other models might be adjustable so that you can add 3 to 6 inches of height depending on what's best for you.
Set your water heater temperature no higher than 120 degrees to avoid burns, and see if you can have a single-lever mixing faucet installed to control the water flow and heat. This would be easier for those of us who have arthritis, so that we don’t have to fiddle with two faucet knobs.
Finally, have a ‘grab bar’ installed in the tub area horizontally (some have a soap dish connected so that it doesn’t look so much like a grab bar). Also have another safety bar installed vertically to hold onto while getting in and out the shower or tub.
These can prevent broken hips, back, legs, arms and cracked heads. It's also a good idea to have a phone accessible in the bathroom. A senior friend once told me that ‘any chances you take can have a life altering incident’. So don’t hesitate to call someone for assistance, most neighbors are willing to help a senior living alone. Stay safe and aloha!