3.6 - The bathroom

The bathroom

Colour and contrast are key to helping someone navigate the bathroom. People with dementia can lose depth perception and so baths or tiled floors that are all one colour can look like empty holes. Shiny surfaces can also look wet or slippery so try to have matt floors where possible.

If a person becomes anxious when they approach the bathroom it is sometimes seen as the person being “challenging” but it may be that to them, they are walking or being helped towards a gaping chasm.

There are a number of other things that can be done to make the bathroom more suitable for a person with dementia:

  • Leave the light on in the bathroom at night so it’s easier to find. A low level bulb is ideal
  • Install grab rails at useful points around the bathroom, ideally in a different colour to the wall
  • Use flood and scald prevention plugs. These stop baths overflowing by releasing excess water down the plughole, in case a bath is left unattended.

As with other areas, keep the bathroom as free from clutter as possible and try to use the same products consistently. The same packages and smells can make it easier for a person with dementia to identify and use the correct items.

Back to the unit