Bathrooms can be slippery and cramped and there are risks of slipping, or getting stuck in the bath. Before you find out about technology that may help you stay safe in the bathroom have a look at our advice about equipment to stay safe and independent in the bathroom. Technology can be used to raise the alarm if you are at risk in the bathroom or to support independence with bathroom activities. Our Occupational Therapy team can also advise you about equipment that might be provided by Devon’s equipment service or where to buy the kit and how much you should pay.
Care alarm pendants can be used in the bathroom to summon assistance when the phone is out of reach; they are usually splash proof and it is recommended that you should wear the pendant or wrist button in the shower or when washing, but they are not waterproofed for full immersion.
Movement and door opening sensors may be what you need if you want to be alerted when someone you are caring for is approaching the bathroom. You can see these in action at the Independent Living Centre and talk to our Occupational Therapists about which type of sensor would work best for you.
The extreme temperature alert can be used in the bathroom to alert a carer if your bathroom has become dangerously cold or hot. The sensor can be linked to a care alarm call centre or be part of your smart home control set up through your home Wi-Fi. If a temperature sensor is set up through your smart home system you can monitor and adjust the temperature using your mobile phone.
Smart home technology can be used to enable an off site carer or friend to monitor and adjust heating remotely through Wi-Fi linked thermostat and heating controls. The Smart Home technology is an ever growing market and our team try and keep up with the best solutions for safety and independence at home. We have the Hive system at the ILC, linking to a smart phone. So give us a call to discuss what you need and we can help guide you towards the right system.
Window openers can be linked to the extreme temperature sensor or smart home technology, to open windows to increase air circulation when the temperature is too high. We can also show you some non tech window openers which may be the solution you are looking for.
Flooding in the bathroom may happen if you have difficulty turning off the tap or if shower screens are difficult to close and water spreads across the room. You could choose to use a flood detector sensor to solve this issue; a small plastic sensor that is placed on the bathroom floor, which raises the alarm when it comes in to contact with water on the floor. The alarm is raised at home or through a call centre. BUT we tend to advise visitors about ways to prevent floods in the bathroom rather than just how to raise the alarm when a flood has happened.
Our Occupational Therapists can talk to you about alternative safety solutions including: plugs that can be removed and stored nearby as a ‘quick fix’ to the risk of floods caused by forgotten taps in basins or baths, and put back into position when assistance is available to use the bath or basin safely. The Sure stop shut off valve which can be used to cut of water to specific appliances at home. Automatic taps that switch on when you place your hands under them. Press button timed taps that only stay flowing for a pre-set time limit may help to reduce the risk of flooding and also save water wastage when taps are left running.
We also love the simple Magiplug solution, a plug that can be bought from hardware shops, that has a clever feature that responds to the weight of the water and releases water down the drain if water levels are too high in the bath or basin.
Water temperature regulation in the bathroom may be a concern if you are unable to feel or adjust a safe temperature when bathing, washing or showering. Most shower control units have thermostatic temperature control to ensure the water is always a safe and comfortable temperature. If temperature needs to be adjusted when you have a shower then it is important that you can see, understand and operate the controls in the shower. We have easy grip designs to show you, as well as a shower unit from AKW designed with tactile controls to make showering safer and easier if you have a sight loss. Some showers can now be controlled by an app on a mobile phone to regulate temperature and flow. Controlling the temperature in the basin or bath is a bit less high tech as we can show you simple colour changing devices, that show you that the bath water is too hot before you touch it and simple bath water thermometers with temperature display and an audible warning when water is too hot or too cold.
Watch our YouTube video: Technology Enabled Care and Support for household risks.
Sensory loss : Devon has some great local services to support people with sensory loss to find equipment and solutions to stay safe and independent at home.
Devon in Sight (Devon Association for the Blind): www.devoninsight.org.uk
Jasmyn House Sensory Resource Centre For Torbay residents (Sight & Hearing): 01803 527776
See Hear Centre Barnstaple For North Devon residents (Living Options): 01271 373236
Sound Base: For Exeter and East Devon residents 01392 424018
The national charity The Thomas Pocklington Trust can give information and advice about gadgets and appliances to help anyone living with sight loss www.pocklington-trust.org.uk