Here are some things you can do to make the bathroom safer. Some are obvious, some are cheap, and some represent more of an investment.
Keep the floor free of clothes and towels. Are you finding it difficult to bend down to reach things? Have one of those “grabby” devices that enable you to reach items above or below you.
Make sure that bath mats and rugs have rubber backs or other fasteners to keep them in one place. Rinse off shower mats after used to prevent soap scum from making them slippery when you use them again.
Add wall-mounted safety or grab bars around the shower, toilet, and other places in the bathroom. Make sure that they are installed correctly so that they are firmly mounted on the wall and will not pull away when force is applied to them.
Consider a taller toilet or at least an elevated seat with grab bars. Add a built-in shower seat and or a shower stool specifically designed to allow bathing from a seated position and ensure that the armed models can support you as you rise.
Equip the bathroom with a handheld showerhead to allow showering even when sitting. Opt for a unit that is mounted on a sliding bar to allow for adjustments and that the showerhead has the controls to adjust the water right on the handheld part.
Make sure that the shower has a pressure balance valve installed to prevent accidental scalding from hot water. Consider whether the bathtub will still be convenient.
Some people have difficulty getting in and out or have trouble pulling themselves up from a seated position and a powered bath lift that makes it easier to get in and out of the water.
Another approach to easy bathing is a walk-in bathtub that has a door cut in to allow a user to enter and exit without climbing over the side.
Is The Cost Worth It?
With the exception of the walk-in bathtub or replacement of the tub or shower, all the other upgrades or modifications suggested above are low-cost.
If you are considering making modifications carefully what the impact of more serious renovations will be on what happens next if the modifications are not enough to keep you or your relative in the home.
Some upgrades, such as walk-in bathtubs, ramps, and stairlifts can impact the resale value of the house. Some younger buyers might not even like the grab bars. Removing modifications can be costly for the buyers.
Ask for Advice
With this disclaimer in mind, adding safety features to the bathroom and other rooms in the home can make a beloved home useful and manageable for a long time.