Bathroom Safety for Someone With Alzheimer's
Take great care when setting up the bathroom. With some forethought potential dangers can be avoided.
- It is difficult to get in and out of a tub enclosed with glass doors. A shower curtain may make life simpler.
- Nonskid decals will make the tub less slippery and may even provide a useful distraction at bath time.
- When the person in your care is no longer able to stand firmly and confidently in the shower, a shower bench can provide safety and security in the tub as well as the shower.
- Clear out or lock the medicine chest and the cabinet under the sink where poisonous substances have been kept.
- If the person with Alzheimer's disease shaves, a cordless rechargeable electric razor is safest. A safety razor should only be used with supervision.
- A raised toilet seat that has hand rails will make it easier to get up and down. Replace an uncomfortable hard toilet seat with a soft cushiony one.
- A shut-off mechanism and a mechanism to control water temperature in sink, tub, and shower will prevent accidental flooding and burns.
- Put screens over open drains.
- Put wastebaskets out of sight. (Otherwise, a person with Alzheimer's may urinate in them or remove things from them.)
- Have no electrical cords dangling near the washbasin.
- Install an automatic hot and cold water mixer.
- If possible, have the toilet seat and washbasin in a contrasting color to the floor.
- Cover a sharp edges with rubber cushioning.
- Put lights in the medicine cabinets so mistakes are not made when giving medicine. People with AD should not be taking medications themselves.
- Remove locks on bathroom doors.
- Use nonskid safety strips or a nonslip bath mat in the tub or shower.
- Think about putting a grab rail on the edge of the vanity. (Do not use a towel bar.)
- Remove glass shower doors or replace them with unbreakable plastic or a shower curtain.
- Use only electrical appliances with a ground fault interrupted (GFI) feature.
- Install GFI electrical outlets.
- Set the hot water thermostat below 120° F.
- Use faucets that mix hot and cold water, or paint hot water knobs/faucets red.
- Insulate (cover) hot water pipes to prevent burns.
Comfort and Convenience
- People beyond the early stage of Alzheimer's disease should not be left alone in the bathroom. They may stuff the toilet with paper and cause a flood.
- If possible, the bathroom should be in a straight path from the bedroom of the person in your care.
- Put in a ceiling heat lamp.
- Provide soap-on-a-rope or put a bar of soap in the toe of a nylon stocking and tie it to the grab bar.
- Place toilet paper within easy reach.
- Try to provide enough space for two people at the bathroom sink.
- If possible, have the sink 32"–34" from the floor.
- Use levers instead of handles on faucets.