By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
If a pre-established shower will not allow
grab bar placement, a walker can be used for
support in and out of a shower or tub.
www.agedcarer.com informs caregivers that towel
bars are NOT enough support for transfers. They
were made for supporting light towels and not a
person’s full weight.
Using a towel bar may seem like a good
“quick fix” but have disastrous consequences if it
breaks under the pressure.
Also, make sure the grab bars stand out from the
place they are attached to. Many people with special
needs have a hard time seeing and distinguishing
colors. A white bar placed on a beige shower/tub is
asking for trouble.
Below are some other guidelines for general
safety in the bathroom, not necessarily
transfer-related, but that will make for easier
transfers and a more positive experience. This
information also comes from the article, “Bath
Safety for Seniors”
- Use anti-skid material for the bathroom
- Keep the floor clean and dry.
- Limit obstacles in the floor plan thus
ensuring free movement in the area.
- Use non-slip strips in your tub or shower.
- Select impact-resistant shower and bathtub
- Put a bath mat with non-skid base next to
the bathtub and shower.
- Install scald-prevention devices, these
devices will keep a check on the water
- Electrical switches and plugs should always
be kept away from water sources.
- Make sure all electrical outlets have ground
fault circuit interrupters.
- Use door locks that can be unlocked from
When in Rome...
Do as the Romans? What if the Romans aren’t set
up the way a caregiver needs them to be? It’s much
easier to predict transfer hazards in a private
home, but in public, there are many challenges a
caregiver cannot control. Here are some ways to be
an advocate for a loved one, in any situation, all
while keeping them safe in a public restroom.
First, it’s obvious to choose restaurants and
attractions with up-to-par handicap-friendly
facilities. Even though most places today are up to
code, that doesn’t mean the layout works in a
caregiver’s favor. The best option is to have a
loved one use the restroom before leaving, and in
the event of a short outing, this works well.
However, there will be times a transfer does need
to be performed in a public setting. Always wait for
the handicap-accessible stall to be open, as it is
the widest and most transfer-friendly. Allow the
loved one full access to the grab bars, and a
caregiver should assist as best as possible.