If you have an elderly parent or grandparent living in your home who has mobility issues, then it is a good idea to add aids to your home to make sure that slip and fall accidents do not occur. The bathroom is one of the most common spaces where injury incidents happen, with a great many of the incidents occurring near the toilet and the bathtub. The installation of a walk in tub can help to reduce some of these injuries. If you decide to install this tub, also do the following things to make sure the new bathtub is as safe as possible.
Add A Textured Bottom
While a walk in tub with a secure door can reduce slipping concerns when your loved one gets in and out of the bathtub, soap and water can still collect on the bottom of the acrylic, fiberglass, or porcelain materials and make it slippery. You can reduce slipping issues by placing a non-slip bathtub safety mat on the bottom of the bathtub. A product made from textured rubber is best since rubber is more pliable than plastic and it will wick away water better. Suction cups on the bottom will stick the mat in place. Just make sure to clean both the suction cups and the bathtub bottom so the cups stick properly. Use rubbing alcohol to do the cleaning to remove oil and dirt residue and spritz the bottom of the tub lightly with water. Press the suction cups on the bottom of the mat down against the bathtub to make them stick.
If you want a more permanent solution, then create a textured surface on the bottom of the tub. Purchase an anti-slip coating kit from your local home store. There are two types of kits you can buy. The first kit contains a glaze or epoxy product that produces a matte surface on the bathtub bottom. The second type of kit has a paint with small silica or sand bits that create a rough texture on the bottom of the tub. If your loved one has sensitive skin or if they are in relatively good health, then the matte surface will work best. However, if the elderly individual in your home has several fall risk factors, then the textured paint is a good idea These risk factors include lower body weakness, vision problems, and a vitamin D deficiency. Also, if your loved one takes antidepressants, tranquilizers, or seizure medications, then balance may be affected and the gritty no-slip coating should be used.
Once you decide on the coating you want, use masking tape to block off the section where you want the material to go. Also, use a piece of 220 or 320 fine grit sandpaper along the bottom of the tub. This will create a texture so the paint or epoxy sticks more effectively.
Secure A Handle
While the addition of a mat or textured surface on the bottom of your bathtub can greatly reduce slip concerns, lower body weakness and general instability can cause falls to occur as your loved one tries to lift themselves up from a sitting position. To help with this issue, make sure to add a safety grab bar to the bathtub enclosure wall. The best place to put this bar is about waist level as you stand in the tub. Your loved one can then reach just above their head to grab the bar when sitting.
The grab bar you install will need to retain a great deal of body weight, so make sure it is placed in the wall stud. Use a stud finder or use a ruler to measure in from the outside wall. Most homes are constructed with studs that are placed every 16 inches, so measure 16, 32, 48, and 64 inches from the side wall. Place small pencil marks on the wall and look to see which measurement is closest to the middle of the bathtub. Use a drill to place a hole in the wall at this measurement and use the anchors that came with the grab bar to secure it in place. After the installation is complete, pull down on the bar with all your weight to make sure it stays in place. Also, you may want to add some grip tape to the bar so it does not become slippery when wet. The type of tape that is used on the top of skateboard decks will work well for this.
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