Making a Bathroom Safer for a Stroke Survivor
Avoid bathing hazards, and help a stroke survivor bathe or shower more easily
The bathroom can be a very hazardous place for someone who's had a stroke. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to make bathing or showering, grooming, and using the toilet easier and safer for the person you're caring for.
- Install grab bars on the walls of the shower or tub to help her get in and out with minimal assistance, and to help balance while bathing or showering.
- To prevent slipping, stick nonskid bath decals or a nonskid rubber mat with suction cups on the floor of the shower or tub. Place a large nonskid bath mat on the floor outside the shower or tub.
- If she has trouble standing while showering, a folding shower chair can be helpful. (Example) You can install an adjustable or handheld showerhead so the stream of water is at the right level for her for when she's seated.
- If she uses a walker or wheelchair, you can install a roll-in shower with a fold-out bath bench. (Example)
- Set the water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent burns from hot water. (She -- or you, if it's your home -- will also save money on utility bills.) If that's not possible, you can install anti-scald devices on faucets and showerheads. These devices stop the water flow if the temperature exceeds 120 degrees; they're relatively easy to install and affordable, ranging from $6 to $30. To learn more, type anti-scald device into your computer search engine.
- A long-handled sponge may allow her to wash hard-to-reach areas herself. (Example) A washcloth mitt can also be helpful. (Example)
- Body soap in a pump bottle may be easier to use than bar soap, which can be slippery and hard to pick up. You can even mount a motion-sensitive dispenser on the wall of your shower. A separate dispenser can be installed for shampoo. To find online suppliers, type automatic soap dispenser into your search engine.
- If she has trouble using her hands, install lever-handled faucets that she can turn on and off with her wrists or arm.