Is your bathroom a potential dementia disaster zone?
Fear of flooding, increased risk of falls, and the potential for confusion caused by mirrors and reflective surfaces, can all combine to make your bathroom a potential time-bomb.
The good news is, that with some expert advice and careful planning, much can be done to alleviate these potential problems and provide effective solutions for you and your loved ones…all of which will help you remain comfortable in your own home for longer.
It’s never too early to start thinking about how to future-proof your bathroom.
The key to success is to act now. Planning possible adaptations before you actually need them, will give you the best opportunity to seek professional advice, get the work done and then adjust easily to any changes.
Your first port of call should undoubtedly be to seek the advice of an Occupational therapist. They are the experts. They will be able to do a home visit and offer personalised advice about you and your home. They may well identify hazards you haven’t even thought of, and can come up with innovative solutions that could help prevent no end of problems later on.
The following bathroom fixes used in many specialist dementia care homes will help boost your bathroom’s usability right now…so why not incorporate some of these ideas…
Banish flooding worries with a Magiplug
“Magiplug” is an ingenious device that you can use to replace the existing plug in your bath and/or washbasin. It contains a pressure sensor that releases water safely down the plughole if the taps are not switched off and the water level gets too deep, thus eliminating fears of flooding. They are inexpensive, easy to fit to your existing bath and/or basin, and can provide real peace of mind. They are easily available from a number of dementia care suppliers, Amazon, or direct from the manufacturer.
Watch this YouTube clip to see how they work:
With safety in mind, it’s also well worth considering a centrally controlled thermostat to control water temperature, and avoid the possibility of scalding accidents.
The addition of grab rails and a toilet seat riser can help improve your sense of security and confidence when using the bathroom and ultimately reduce the risk of falls. There are many products on the market, so to find the right ones for you, we suggest looking at the Disability Living Foundation’s website www.asksara.dlf.org.uk/ which provides an impartial source of information and advice.
Choose a strong colour for hand towels, grab rails, toothbrush pot and toilet seat, that contrasts clearly with the floor, walls and bathroom furniture. This draws the eye to them and provides an efficient visual reminder.
Try to keep lights bright, but avoid glare. A motion sensor that turns on the bathroom light automatically when you go in there is always a welcome addition.
Mirrors and reflective surfaces can all too easily become a source of confusion, and ultimately fear, once reflections are no longer understood. It’s good to keep in mind that they may need to be covered or removed at a later stage.
These simple alterations really do have the power to make life that little bit easier, so we hope we’ve inspired you. Good luck with the alterations!