Authentic evidence indicates that the two most dangerous locations in the home are the kitchen and the bathroom. This is based on findings that accidents in the home generally occur in these tow locations. In short, everyone has to exercise extra caution while using these two areas in the home. Young and able-bodied individuals do not realize the risks in a bathroom. This is because they manage to retain control over themselves and can get up or call out for help or crawl out if need be. However, an elderly person is not in a position to do that. There have been cases of an elderly person using the bathroom and experiencing the onset of stroke like sensations. They are unable to prevent falling, suffer shock when they fall and therefore cannot call out for help, as a result of which their accident proves to be fatal. Therefore, arranging bathroom safety for older people is extremely important.
One of the reasons older people cannot be helped quickly if they have an accident in the bathroom is because the door is locked. It is preferable that senior family members are persuaded not to lock the door. The fact that they feel that someone might barge in not knowing that they are using the bathroom, is a very valid fear for their dignity and sense of privacy. Family members must therefore work out a system that ensures the older person his privacy, yet he can leave the door unlocked so that in case of an emergency help can reach him unhindered
Bathroom bathing areas, whether tubs or shower stalls, are usually slippery. Older people, like children and everyone else, are at risk in this area. Therefore precautions must be taken. First of all, if the older family member is independent and able to do for himself, he must be encouraged to continue to do so. However, make sure that the bathtub or shower stall has adhesive strips to prevent slipping. Anti-slip mats may also serve the purpose, but tend to move making for the user becoming unbalanced. In addition, it would also be sensible to provide a stable chair or stool for the bather, and rather than sit in the bathtub or under the shower, the older bather could try bathing himself using a bucket and mug.
In situations where the older person needs help, a family member or hired help, must accompany the older person and help him bathe. All too often it has been found that older people stop bathing because the whole episode is so grueling for them. However, bathing is essential, it helps the older person retain his dignity and he feels clean fresh and alert if he does so, in addition, he can remain socially acceptable to others if he bathes regularly.
In short, bathing is a ritualistic and social cleansing process. Older people need it as much as do all others. The solution to problems experienced by older people in trying to bathe, is not to discourage them from bathing, rather it is make it easier for them to bathe so that they can continue to enjoy a dignified appearance even though ageing can be a very undignified period of life.