June 24, 2015 in Caregiver Tips
A few months back my mom started having trouble getting in and out of the shower. It started slowly, but as the weeks go by she seems to be having more and more trouble. It has now gotten to the point where either one of my siblings or myself has to be there for her at all times in case she falls trying to get into the tub/shower area. Are there any solutions to help mom regain her independence, while ensuring her safety at the same time?
Thanks for your help.
Carla, St. Marys, OH
That is a great question, and a very common issue among older adults. Aging parents often begin to worry about being able to lift their legs high enough to clear the tub when getting in, or falling and or slipping once they are actually in the shower. Although this fear is a common occurrence, I know first-hand how stressful this can become for you and your siblings. In reality, you just don’t have the time to spend each waking minute at your parents’ house to ensure their safety, especially if you are caring for your own family.
Fortunately, there are several options you can consider to help your mother regain her independence and, in return, take some of the stress off of your own back. For example, one thing that would be a great addition to your mother’s bath area is a transfer bench, which would allow your mom a chance to sit down and then slide over into the tub.
She could even use the chair during the shower, should she become weak and fear that she may fall down. Likewise, a grab bar, which comes in many different lengths and styles will give your mother something secure to hold onto, helping her to regain her independence while decreasing her fear of falling when getting in and out of the shower area. If you are mostly worried about her ability to get in and out of the shower, consider looking into a new bathtub element known as the Safeway Step. This addition will provide your mother with much easier access into the bathtub, allowing her to walk right into the shower, rather than having to lift her leg up and over the tub. Plus, there is no need to buy a new tub –additions can be made to the current tub you have!
And remember, there is no shame in looking into hiring a professional caregiver to spend time with your mom throughout the day or help her with activities that she may not be able to do on her own anymore. If you are unsure of where to start looking for a part-time care provider, reach out to her doctor for advice.
I hope these suggestions help and that you and your siblings are able to find the best safety option to fit your mother’s needs. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to me at 419.678.4979 or stop by New Visions Medical to test out some of our bath safety products.
Sarah at New Visions