As we get older, it becomes harder to do certain tasks. Declining health, mobility, and even cognitive functions can interfere with activities like going to the bathroom, using toilet paper, or taking a shower.
Unfortunately, sometimes we must decide to put our loved ones in assisted living communities. When this happens, you want to ensure the assisted living bathrooms are safe.
Why Do Bathrooms Need to Be Safe in Assisted Living Communities?
Many qualities indicate that an assisted living community is of high quality. Before exploring these factors, however, let’s first look at why a living community needs to be safe in the first place.
As we age, we become more prone to falling, which can result in serious injuries. According to the CDC, about a fourth of seniors experience at least one fall a year. Furthermore, a fifth of these falls cause serious injuries.
Roughly three million people need emergency services following a fall every year. In addition, approximately 34,000 seniors die from falls every year. Minimizing these risks can significantly help senior citizens.
The bathroom, in particular, can be dangerous for the elderly because they’re small and can get very wet and slippery. These factors result in a lack of mobility and reduced maneuverability. Safe-proofing private bathrooms can prevent residents from falling.
What Are the Different Bathrooms in an Assisted Living Community?
The right assisted living bathrooms should have plenty of safety measures in place. The best accessible bathroom solutions center around customizing a bathroom for every resident. Assisted living communities have two types of bathrooms: private and shared bathrooms.
Some assisted living communities have shared bathrooms where residents share lavatories, common toilets, and showers or baths.
Generally speaking, there should be one shower or bathtub for eight residents and one toilet and lavatory for every sixth resident. However, these requirements can depend upon a state’s guidelines.
Since 1995, new construction projects must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines stipulate that people with disabilities can access all public areas and at least 50% of private areas. These guidelines include bathrooms and showers.
However, while shared bathrooms in assisted living communities may meet general safety requirements, many residents have extra needs.
A regular resident who still has decent mobility may find a shared bathroom accessible enough. However, a wheelchair user or a resident with bariatric issues can have extreme difficulties accessing a shared bathroom.
According to The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, around 64% of residents need help bathing. Additionally, about 40% need assistance when using the toilet.
For these reasons, checking if an assisted living community has private bathrooms is essential. Of course, residents may also feel more at ease if they have a private bathroom.
However, just because a community has private bathrooms doesn’t necessarily mean they’re of high quality. Most assisted living communities have bathrooms equipped with basic safety features like support bars and seated showers.
Unfortunately, many assisted living communities take a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Residents’ needs vary widely, so it’s better when an assisted living community customizes a bathroom with the resident’s needs in mind.
How Can an Assisted Living Community Customize Their Bathrooms?
The best-assisted living bathrooms are designed or adjusted based on a resident’s size and mobility. Some customizable features that an assisted living community can install include the following:
- Installing a moveable seat letting residents quickly get in and out of a shower
- Changing the horizontal placement or the overall height of a toilet’s support bars
- Sinks that residents can lower or raise by pressing a button
The main purpose behind these features is to prevent residents from slipping and falling. However, these features can also provide another great benefit for residents. These features help residents to go to the toilet or bathe themselves.
Residents who can bathe themselves or go to the bathroom without help will have a better quality of life. They will feel more dignified and happier, which can significantly improve their physical and mental health.
Additionally, this allows caregivers more time to tend to other residents, saving time and money.
Other Safety Features Assisted Living Bathrooms May Have
Assisted living bathrooms may have various safety features in place. Some of these safety features include the following:
- Handheld showerheads
- Non-skid surfaces
- Pull-down shower chairs
- Built-in grab bars
How Else Can Assisted Living Communities Prevent Falls?
A good assisted living community should have stylish bathrooms to accommodate a patient’s specific needs.
However, a high-quality assisted living community understands many factors that can lead to falls or other injuries. When searching for an assisted living community, determine if they have the following measures and programs:
- Medication management: Certain medications or a mix of medications can increase the risks of a resident falling. However, proper medication management ensures a patient takes the correct prescriptions and dosages at the right time.
- Fall assessments: Before a patient moves in, a registered nurse or other qualified healthcare professional should assess their fall risk. This assessment can help the community craft a customized care plan.
- Health and wellness programs: While seniors become less active as they age, they should still engage in some physical activity if possible. Doing so prevents bone or muscle loss, reduced mobility, and flexibility and can improve overall coordination.
- Excellent caregivers: Lastly, an assisted living community should have excellent caregivers, including registered healthcare professionals. Be sure to ask what training the staff receives and how they deal with emergencies like falls.
Let We Care Senior Solutions Help Out Today
Assisted living bathrooms need to promote the utmost safety for residents. The best way to achieve this is by having customized bathrooms adjusted with a resident in mind. We Care Senior Solutions strives to provide customized care for every resident.