If you are taking care of a person who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, there are many hazards to beware of in the bathroom. But with foresight and planning, it is quite easy to prevent problems for the patient.
It can of course be difficult for the patient to recognize and accept that he has limits to what he can do by himself in the bathroom. But it is important to be both honest and open with your loved one so that he can have more independence in the bathroom.
Bathroom Safety Tips
One of the first things to think about is you will of course want to install grab bars as needed near toilets, sinks and in the shower. But there are other aspects of the bathroom that could cause difficulty that could escape you. Some people, for instance, who have Parkinson’s will have difficulty turning a regular doorknob. That is where installing door pulls and utility handles in the home and in the bathroom can make things easier.
Another thing to keep in mind in the bathroom is to be careful of any sharp edges. We recommend that you cover counter top edges that are sharp with towels and other cushioning. And, you should take the bathroom locks off the doors so that the patient cannot lock himself in. Every bathroom in the house also should have Ground Fault Interrupted (GFI) electrical outlets installed. These devices will shut off the power to the outlet if there is a power surge, such as when an electric appliance is exposed to water. They also will shut off if the person’s feet or hands are wet if they touch any electrical appliance.
Some caregivers prefer to switch out glass shower doors with doors made of plastic, or a plastic shower curtain. Of course, you should have no-skid bath mats in the tub/shower and in front of it to minimize any chance of falls.
In the later stages of the disease, it is a good idea to use tape or paint to color the faucets red or blue to designate the hot and cold knobs.
People who have Parkinson’s also can have problems grasping small objects. That is why we suggest that the soap is tied into a sock or a stocking, and then tied to the grab bar in the bath tub/shower, such as the Easy Grip Adjustable Tub Grab Bar. Also, you should have to toilet paper and tissues in easy reach of the patient.
The patient also may have difficulty standing for long periods in the shower. That is why it is so important to have a good, solid shower seat installed in the shower. We recommend the SerenaSeat Foldable 26 Inch Shower Seat (see above image).
The above bathroom modifications and Parkinson’s products will go far to helping the patient be more independent and safe in the bathroom.