Those who have difficulty with everyday life tasks will likely have difficulty with light housekeeping and, in particular, ensuring a clean bathroom. A clean bathroom can actually affect the health and safety of aging adults and those who are housebound.
Why Is a Clean Bathroom So Important?
A clean bathroom requires wiping surfaces daily and deep cleaning weekly in order to prevent illness and infections affecting aging and/or unhealthy individuals. An unclean bathroom can affect:
- Breathing – inhaling mold and dust can cause health concerns for those who may already suffer from breathing problems such as COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, or other conditions.
- Microorganisms, Bacteria, Viruses, & Pathogens – can live on bathroom surfaces for up to a week or more. Keeping a clean bathroom means wiping surfaces daily with bacteria killing solutions (vinegar, bleach, antibacterial cleaners); paying special attention to the surfaces of the toilet, tub, sink and all handles & faucets. Commonly found in bathrooms:
- Stomach viruses that can cause intestinal distress; viruses include E. Coli, Norovirus, and salmonella and many other bacteria and microorganisms.
- Bacteria, fungi & viruses such as staph (including MRSA), athlete’s feet fungus, mold & mildew (causing breathing issues to worsen or flare up), strep, and many others. Daily wiping down of your bathroom will help decrease surface bacteria/viruses/pathogens greatly.
As we age our immune systems weaken, even in those who remain active and healthy; making the probability of typical bacteria, microorganisms and viruses even more likely to affect our immune system than when we were younger.
It’s not only important to have a clean bathroom but to make sure you provide a safe bathroom also.
- Magazines & Clutter – keeping the bathroom free of clutter is part of having a clean bathroom. Having items on the floor, next to, or around the toilet area can cause falling hazards and possibly spill liquids from bottles creating slippery areas.
- Throw Rugs or Bathmats – throw rugs on a floor can create a tripping hazard or sliding hazard when water gets underneath.
- Tub Mats – although tub mats are created to stick to the bottom of a tub, they can often lose suction and create dangerous conditions. The mat can become bunched up and, even though the suction cups are doing their job, the mat itself can become wrinkled or turned up and cause a person to trip.
- Deodorizing/Disinfectant Sprays – these sprays can create slippery surfaces if they don’t dry properly and may also pose a breathing hazard for some.
- Safety Bars – it is extremely important to have safety grips, bars, and pulls put in by a professional who can ensure that they are placed correctly, to handle specific weight limits safely with proper anchoring. Suction cup bars are NOT recommended and can become unattached easily.
We can help your loved one(s) live in safe conditions that include a clean bathroom for better health while providing personalized caregiving in their California home.
Immune Function In Older Adults by Antoine Azar, MD & Zuhair K Ballas, MD, November 2015
Photo by faungg’s photos