It is normal for aging adults to experience health-related behavioural changes that can make them more likely to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Finding their way in the dark can increase the potential of accidental falls and injuries and as such safety measures have to be put in place to avoid such incidents from occurring.
There are many reasons why seniors might be using the restroom more often at night. Medication side effects, incontinence, increased fluid intake, colder temperatures, and even insomnia are but a few possible reasons for late-night toileting. This is precisely why we create this article on the top safety tips for aging adults who use the restroom at night.
9 Safety Tips for Seniors Who Use the Restroom at Night
To mitigate the potential risks involved with late-night restroom use, we have compiled a list of bathroom safety tips for seniors that will greatly help reduce the chances of accidental or fall-related injuries.
- Setting The Right Water Temperature
Certain medications and health conditions, such as diabetes, can make the skin less sensitive to changes in temperature. This can cause seniors to burn themselves if the water is too hot.
Therefore, it is recommended to check the water temperature using a thermometer before getting in the shower or bathtub.
Always turn the cold water tap on first and then the hot water. After showering make sure to turn the hot water off first and then the cold water.
The safe range for water temperature is between 38 °C to 43 °C (100 °F to 109 °F).
Installing grab bars near the shower or bathtub for balance will also reduce the risk of falls.
Seniors should never hold on to the hot water tap because it might turn on the water if they slip.
- Install a Bed Rail
Getting out of bed too quickly can cause a senior to lose balance especially if they are half-awake.
Installing a bed rail will allow seniors to balance themselves while getting out of bed and also reduce the risk of them falling out of bed while tossing and turning at night.
- Install An Automatic Light Switch Or Night Lights
Installing a light switch that is accessible from the bed will allow seniors to turn on the bedroom lights right away when they wake up.
Motion-sensing night lights are also a great option because they turn on as soon as the individual makes any movement. Placing these lights in the room or hallway can allow seniors to find their way to the bathroom more easily.
It is important to strike the right balance of lighting. Lighting that is too bright can cause disorientation, especially when someone has just woken up from sleep. A light that is too dim defeats the purpose of having lighting in the first place.
- Use Slip-Resistant & Even Flooring
Households with seniors must have non-slip surfaces/flooring.
Covering floor surfaces with rugs and carpets can be a solution to this problem. However, wrinkled rugs can become a tripping hazard. Rugs can also cause an individual to slip if the rug does not have a non-skid surface on the underside.
It is also important to ensure that the flooring is even. Any uneven surfaces such as broken tiles or chipped wood floors should be repaired immediately.
You should also check the floor for other tripping hazards such as electrical cords. Use cord clips to secure them away from the floor surface and out of harm's way.
- Highlight The Bathroom Route
Seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can wander away from the restroom as a result of forgetfulness. Improved lighting on the way to the restroom will allow them to recognize the route more easily.
Other visible cues that you can use include coloured tape along the hallway or the installation of brighter lighting at the entrance of the bathroom that remains switched on throughout the night.
Glow-in-the-dark materials are also a great option for illuminating the pathway to the bathroom.
- Use a Motion Activated Toilet Seat
A motion-activated toilet seat can help seniors when using the restroom at night. These seats are equipped with lighting and automatic flushing features that make them highly convenient for older adults.
You can also use bath mats and install grab bars beside the toilet seat so seniors can maintain their balance and avoid slipping or falling.
- Use A Bed Sensor
Seniors that are prone to sleepwalking or using the restroom frequently at night would benefit from having a bed sensor installed.
This safety device alerts caregivers if their loved one has woken up and gotten out of bed. If they are not back within a set amount of time the device will automatically alert the caregiver or healthcare provider that they might need assistance.
Equipping seniors with other medical safety devices such as an automatic fall detector or a basic alarm can also go a long way in ensuring that if anything were to happen help is never too far away.
- Keep Vision Clear
Seniors with poor vision should always have an extra pair of glasses by the bed when they fall asleep. This is because if they do wake up they will need to put them on in order to safely make their way to the restroom.
- Using A Medication Dispenser
Seniors who have to get up at night for their daily medications would benefit greatly from having medication organizers to help ensure that they are taking the right medications in a timely manner and in the right dosage.
Using the restroom in the middle of the night can be common for seniors due to changing health. By following the above-mentioned tips a senior can use the restroom with more ease and confidence. These tips will also help in mitigating any risk of slips and falls.
For more information on how to keep seniors safe, healthy, and active, visit Northwood Intouch.