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Helping Your Elderly Parent Retain Home Independence

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If your senior aged mother or father has a chronic health condition, then it may be time to hire a home health care aide. This is best to make sure your parent remains safe and healthy in the home. However, it is a good idea for your loved one to keep some of their independence. This will help to retain their self esteem and privacy. The bathroom is one of the places where your parent will most likely want their privacy. You can help them and your health care aide with this by adding some mobility assistance devices to the bathroom.

Consider Adding Grab Bars

To help your loved one sit on the toilet and to get in and out of the bathtub, think about adding grab bars to the walls in these areas. It is best to purchase steel bars that are strong enough to withstand your parent's body weight. Also, L-shaped bars that can be grabbed from different angles are wise. These bars should be covered with textured grip so slipping hands are not a concern. If you cannot find this option, then think about adding grip tape made for skateboards to the handles. This tape is usually quite wide and sold in either 9 or 12 inch wide varieties, so keep in mind that you will need to cut this product down to size. However, the underside of the tape is extremely sticky and perfect for adding grip to a grab bar.

Also, when you go to install the bars, make sure they are placed around chest height so they are easy to grab. Place the bars in the studs, too. If you do not do this, then the bars will likely pull right out of the drywall after only one or two uses. You can use an electronic stud finder to more easily find the studs in the walls.

Replace the Toilet

Your loved one may have trouble sitting down and getting up from the toilet without a lot of assistance. You can help your loved one use the toilet much easier by installing a new toilet that sits higher off the ground. Most toilets are made to sit around 15 inches from the floor, but one that is around 17 or 18 inches high will be easier to sit on. This height is similar to the height of most chairs. High toilets are sometimes called comfort toilets or high toilets, and they are also sold for people who are wheelchair bound.

If you do not want to purchase a brand new toilet, then a new seat may be a good choice. These seats come in both rigid and soft foam varieties, and they can latch directly onto the attached toilet seat. These products add several inches to the height of the seat. If you cannot fit a grab bar next to the toilet, then think about getting a seat with handles as well. Contact a local home health service, like Catawba County Home Health Agency, for more help.