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7 Bathroom Safety Tips to Prevent Falls & Injuries 
When it comes to elder care safety in a loved one's home, the bathroom is one of the first rooms you should focus on.
 According to research by the CDC, persons between the age of 75 and 85 are twice as likely as the average person to suffer a nonfatal injury in the bathroom.
For those over age 85, the risk of an injury goes up to more than four times that of the average person. In its report, the CDC noted: "This study found that older adults had the highest fracture rates and were hospitalized most often...Preventing falls and subsequent injuries in this vulnerable older population is critical."

With this in mind, here are 7 areas where bathroom safety can improve your ability to care for an elderly family member.
  • Install Grab Bars. Grab bars are an indispensable tool for elder care bathroom safety. Grab bars perform two essential functions. First, they give your loved one something to grip and anchor themselves with when moving in/out of the tub or getting on/off the toilet. Second, in the case of a fall, grab bars can help your loved one catch or brace themselves.
  • Prevent Slips. Many falls are caused by slippery surfaces. In order to prevent slips, it is advised that you install non-slip surfaces on the floor of your loved one's tub or shower.
    Non-slip decals should also be applied to the bathroom tile, which can be just as dangerous when wet. It is also advised that you remove scatter rugs, which are easy to slip on or trip over.
  • Improve Accessibility. Making sure that commonly used items are within easy reach is essential for areas like bathrooms where the risk of slipping or falling is heightened. This is especially important in the shower/bathtub, so make sure that soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels, and any other bathing items are within easy reach.
  • Remove Obstacles. Bathroom safety can be improved by removing items that are easily tripped over. One of the biggest risks for the elderly is tripping over the side of their bathtub. Installing a walk-in shower or walk-in bathtub can prevent this from occurring.
  • Reduce Risk of Over-Exertion. Many injuries and falls are caused by over-exertion. By installing a secure bathing seat and a raised seat for your loved one's toilet, you can reduce the risk of your loved one over-exerting themselves.
  • Improve Visibility. For many elderly people, frequent urination - especially at night - is a common complaint. By installing night lights that illuminate the walkway from the bedroom to the bathroom, you reduce the chance of a fall or injury.
  • Prevent Hot Water Burns. Elderly people have thinner, more delicate skin and can take longer to notice hot temperatures. Because of this, they are often at increased risk of burns caused by hot water. Make sure your loved one's bathroom taps are clearly labelled and keep hot water temperatures to a maximum of 120 F.

Bonus Tip: Toilet safety is just as important as shower/bathtub safety. In fact, the CDC's study on

elder care bathroom safety showed that seniors are more likely to injure themselves while sitiing down on, getting up from, or using the toilet than they are to injure themselves in the shower or bathtub.


Finally, elder care bathroom safety can always be improved by having someone around to look after your loved one. Whether that person is a relative, a friend, or a home care provider - like those provided by Visiting Angels - having someone nearby greatly reduces your loved one's risk of injury in the bathroom.


If your loved one could use a hand around the house, call Visiting Angels (410.218.9506) today to learn about our home care services. Our Angels can help with personal care needs including bathing, toileting and dressing. We also provide assistance with activities of daily living including meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, and help running errands. We can help your loved one live safely at home.  

How to Talk to Your Elderly Parent About Needing Care
It's a role reversal we're never truly quite ready for: You're now responsible for the parent who raised you.
Your loved one may need help getting dressed. 
The person who taught you to drive is now asking you to drive her to an appointment. You are grocery shopping for more people than just your kids. Did you remember to remind dad to take his medication?
While this may be a reality, it's still a very difficult and a sensitive subject for daughters and sons to face. Your aging parent may become fearful and quickly dismiss the idea of assistance.
Avoiding the talk will be worse on your long-term relationship and the care needed.
Avoid the Risks
It's important to have the conversation for a few reasons, including that becoming the sole caregiver puts you and your loved one at risk.
"Most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role and provide care with little or no support; yet more than one-third of caregivers continue to provide intense care to others while suffering from poor health themselves," according to the National Center on Caregiving .
Without reliable support, a family caregiver may suffer pain, depression, and ultimately burnout. And a burned-out caregiver can have unintended consequences for your loved one, who sadly won't get the quality of care they need.
As you assume the role of a full-time family caregiver, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain your existing relationship with your loved one. You're now busy cleaning the dishes or mowing the lawn, instead of visiting with your Mom or Dad.
So having a candid conversation about help early on is vital.
How to Broach the Conversation
The talk with your elderly parent about hiring a home care professional can be uncomfortable. Parents may not realize they need assistance. Or they may perceive home care as a threat to their independence.
The simplest way to address the situation is to acknowledge his or her concern and provide reassurance. Your goal is to help your loved one maintain his or her own independence and live safely, comfortably and happily in his or her own home.
The way to clear up any misconceptions is to develop an ongoing, casual dialogue.
Be patient and persistent. Recruit other stakeholders if needed. A trusted spouse, doctor, or family attorney may be helpful in these conversations. Hold regular discussions together. Emphasize your desire to improve your loved one's well-being and maintain his or her independence. Don't try to solve everything in one conversation.
Below are sample conversation starters and strategies to introduce home care services to your loved one. Each scenario is a catalyst to take action and start talking. Prior to talking, prepare and arrange with a reliable friend or your spouse to take part in the plan.  
SCENARIO: Your loved one mentions plans to drive to the grocery store. He's shown signs of unsafe driving (getting lost or confused or unexplained dents in the car).
Coordinate with a trusted neighbor, friend or spouse to serve as a driver for one trip.   
I see you're planning to go to the grocery store. I think it would be a great idea to ride with (the neighbor/friend/spouse) next time or even hire a professional who can take you where you want to go. You could tell her exactly where you want to go and she'll get you there. You'd be in control.
SCENARIO: You noticed your mom or dad isn't eating.

I don't have the time to stay and cook tonight, but (neighbor/friend/spouse) loves to cook and
said she would love to cook with you tomorrow night, and she won't have to leave early. Then you won't have to worry about making dinner, and the family will feel good knowing someone's with you to help you out in the kitchen. You can tell them what you'd like to eat, and you'll be in total control. Let's at least try it and talk about it afterward to see if it's an arrangement you'd like.
SCENARIO: Your loved one forgets to take his/her medicine repeatedly. (Alert the doctor first.)

I'm worried that you forgot to take your medicine again. I spoke with your doctor and he's especially concerned about missing doses. He suggested we find a way to prevent it from happening. I thought a professional caregiver would be really helpful. Let's at least give it a try and see how you like it. Then we can talk about it and see if it's something you want going forward.
SCENARIO: Your elderly loved one is struggling to get dressed, whether it's a fall or a miss-buttoned shirt. You've realized they need help in the bedroom to get dressed.

I've noticed you're wearing the same clothes again. What if we got you a helper for the mornings? Someone who can stop by and help you ge tready for the day? She could even do a load of laundry or two, that's completely on your terms. Think of how nice it'll be knowing that there's one less thing you have to do. Mind if we give this a try?
SCENARIO: You notice a high pile of dishes in the kitchen sink.

I know you care about keeping the place clean and tidy. But your dishes have piled up again and the kitchen's getting dirty. I'll help you get those done, but what if we explored getting someone in here to keep the dishes done and the place clean? We'd love to take that off your plate and then everyone can feel good knowing your house is clean and the way you like it. Let's at least give it a try and go from there.
Just Getting Care into the Door
Initial rejection and reluctance are common. Remember, this is moving from independence to dependence, and it's an uncomfortable shift that'll naturally be met with resistance. But the most important thing to remember here is that the situation will not reverse itself.

Introduce home care early, while your parent is still in control and can build a relationship with a caregiver.

As your parent ages, he or she will only grow towards greater dependence, so the sooner you can warm him or her to the idea of accepting help, the easier the transition will be.

And when you've retained superior home care services, your main job is to help the caregiver get in the door. 
Once your loved one experiences the warmth and ease of a compassionate caregiver, the conversation gets exponentially easier.
If you've tried these strategies, and your loved one is still reluctant, let's talk about strategies to cope with an elderly parent who rejects outside help.

Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

The winter season is upon us, and we are experiencing the effects of cold weather.
Snow, ice and low temperatures are especially hard on senior citizens. Snow-covered walkways and frigid gusts of wind increase the risk of falling. Fortunately for family caregivers, we have some winter safety tips that will help keep seniors happy and safe throughout this cold season.

It's important for family and caregivers to inform seniors of the temperature each day. Freezing air often has drastic effects on the environment, causing slippery ice to form on sidewalks and driveways. When your aging relative needs to leave the house, give them an update on weather conditions before walking outside with them. You'll never regret taking the time to investigate the weather so everyone can practice proper winter safety.

Don't forget to bundle up! According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most elderly adults produce lower body heat due to a slower metabolism. This means that they require more insulation to protect them from cold air. Remember to provide seniors with extra layers of clothing and coats to keep them from experiencing harsh winter weather.

One of the best ways to ensure winter safety is to remind seniors to consistently take their vitamins and supplements. This is especially important during hazardous winter weather conditions. Seniors are more prone to falling during the winter months, so it's important to keep their bones healthy.

In addition to the temperature-related winter tips for seniors, you'll also want to craft a thorough emergency plan  for the real possibility of a fall. Even when you are extremely careful, slips and falls are a consistent danger for seniors. Think of possible scenarios and create practical plans that will help your elderly relatives practice effective winter safety tips. If your loved one needs help around the house, please don't hesitate to call us! Our introductory meeting includes a free fall prevention analysis and our caregivers can help your loved one live safely at home this winter.

Winter safety measures for seniors should not be taken lightly. Winter is often one of the most difficult seasons for seniors, especially those who are isolated from others. Fortunately, proper preparation can alleviate most issues. We hope these winter safety tips help you and your loved one stay safe this winter.