Dementia Care: 6 Tips for a Safer Bathroom

Getting started

The bathroom can become the most dangerous room in the house for someone with dementia. These six tips can make it a safer place.

1. Use colored tape

If the bathroom is all one color, use colored tape to mark the toilet seat and the toilet bowl. Nonskid colored tape around the top edge of the tub will also make it stand out and define edges as well as tub depth. Colored tape around the sink will make that stand out as well.

2. Take out extra items

To ensure that there is enough room for the care recipient and the caregiver in the bathroom at the same time, remove all extraneous pieces of furniture. Remove the wastebasket as well, so it won’t be confused with the toilet and used as one.

3. Reduce burn risk

To keep a person with dementia from getting scalded or burned, cover all hot water pipes and block access to radiators with a piece of furniture. Also, lower the temperature of the water going into the tub, shower, and sink so it doesn’t exceed 120° F.

4. Prevent electrocution

Keep hair dryers, curling irons, electric toothbrushes, and electric razors away from water. Unplug them and put them away after use.

5. Lose the door lock

Remove or disengage the lock from the bathroom door so the person with dementia cannot accidentally lock out caregivers.

6. Store medications carefully

To prevent overdosing and poisoning, medications should be kept away from the bathroom in a locked drawer or else locked securely in the medicine cabinet. For extra protection, make sure each drug bottle has a childproof cap.

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HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into in 2018.