<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">Bathroom Safety Makeovers</font></h2><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt">(ARA) – The bathroom may seem innocent enough, but it can be more of an obstacle than a convenience for some elderly folk. What can you do to make the bath a safer, easier place to visit?</span></p><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">A lot, according to Lisa Bauer of the Medline Industries Interiors Division, which employs a team of designers who work with a number of long-term care facilities every day to make them more functional, safer and aesthetically appealing. </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="282"><param name="movie" value="../images/banners/3c.swf" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="../images/banners/3c.swf" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="282"></embed></object></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Think of it as ‘Extreme Makeover: Senior Safety Edition,’" says Bauer. "By considering the needs of the elderly, you can easily make a few changes that can dramatically affect the ease-of-use and safety for loved ones."</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Bauer points to a report in the journal "Nursing Home" for some tips consumers should follow if they are remodeling with an older relative in mind.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Consider a color other than white</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"A sparkling, white bathroom may make you think of cleanliness, but white can be a problematic color for some seniors. As we age, our eyes lose their ability to discriminate color well," says Bauer.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Some older folks might have trouble locating a white toilet seat if the flooring is also light or white. Men might have trouble voiding into a toilet while standing if they have difficulty identifying where the toilet stops and the flooring begins.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Provide something for them to hold onto</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Toilets should have plenty of space around them, so that an aide could stand on either side and assist an older person. Angled grab bars are preferable to standard horizontal grab bars, which are typically shorter and require the user to have more upper body strength. With angled grab bars, seniors can grasp the bar at a lower position and then move up the bar, which can also increase transfer independence.<span>  </span></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Create traction where it might get wet</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">The National Institute on Aging suggests placing non-skid mats, strips or carpet on all bathroom surfaces that could possibly get wet. Don’t skimp in this area — environmental hazards, such as wet floors, account for 16 to 27 percent of falls in nursing homes, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Raise the seat</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">OSHA recommends nursing homes use toilet seat risers for independent seniors as well as partially weight-bearing residents who are cooperative, can sit up unaided, have upper body strength and are able to bend their hips, knees and ankles.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Bath boards and benches</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Older folks with mobility issues often have trouble getting in and out of the shower. Bath boards and benches can help," says Bauer.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Placing clothing or material between the user’s skin and the board can help reduce friction and skin tears, OSHA suggests.<span>  </span>For added comfort, choose models with padded seats or back support. </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Universally accessible sinks</strong> </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Making bathroom sinks accessible to all helps older people remain independent in their grooming. Wheelchair users can easily access sinks that have space under the bowl or that are accessible from the side.<span>  </span>While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at the faucets on your sinks. </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Single-control faucets can prove problematic for elders with poor grasping ability. Instead, choose blade handles," comments Bauer. "Adjustments should also be made so that people in wheelchairs can see the mirrors placed above bathroom sinks." </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Doors</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Barn-style" doors with exterior tracks or "pocket doors" that slide into wall pockets are becoming increasingly popular in long-term care facilities. If it’s in the budget, you can incorporate them into your home bath to make the room easier to access. These types of doors frequently have hardware that is easier to use for people with poor grasping ability. Another reason to consider these styles of doors is that having two or more traditional doors swinging into a single space has been shown to increase falls.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">To learn more about equipment and accessories that can help make the bathroom safer for seniors, visit <a href="http://www.medline.com/">www.medline.com</a> .</p>  <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt"><div style="text-align: center"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version
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