Our Difference: Keeping Our Alzheimer’s Residents Safe in Bathrooms

March 13, 2013 abigail Comments

One of the most common questions from families when touring a cottage is “Why aren’t there bathrooms attached to the bedrooms?” We intentionally design our cottages so that residents cannot directly access the restroom from their bedroom with the resident in mind. We want to keep our residents as safe as possible and bathrooms are an area with a high fall risk for people over the age of 65. Approximately 1 out of every 3 people over 65 fall each year and 75% of those falls occur in the bathroom.(1) This risk is eight times higher for elderly who have some form of dementia.(2) Each of our cottages has 4 resident bathrooms easily accessible from the resident’s bedrooms.  Many of our higher functioning residents are able to toilet and bath themselves and this is strongly encouraged. One of the ways we honor our residents is to help them keep their independence as long as possible. Unfortunately one of the realities of this disease is that at some point in the journey, each of our residents will need assistance with toileting and bathing. Having 4 restrooms that can easily be monitored allows our caregivers to provide the best possible care for our residents while maintaining their privacy and dignity. Although the bathrooms are not directly accessible from the resident’s bedroom each one is private and designed for one resident to use at a time. They look and feel much like the bathrooms you would find in your house.

When searching for the best possible care of a loved one with memory loss, we often do not think of the risks associated with having a bathroom directly accessible from the bedroom. While it would be easier to attach a full or half bath on each resident’s room, but the reality is that it is not in the best interest of our residents. We strive to keep our residents safe while also respecting their independence and dignity.


1. “Guidelines for Preventing Falls” from OrthoInfo.AAOS.gov
– http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00135
2. “Incidence and prediction of falls in dementia: a prospective study in older people” from PubMed.gov
– http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19436724

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