Bathroom Safety for Seniors
It’s estimated that 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65 experiences a fall each year, most often at home. Generally, falls in most parts of the home don’t result in extreme injuries, but falls in the bathroom can have worse results. Bathroom-related injuries are the most severe of all falling injuries that happen in the home. In fact a recent study from the CDC showed that nearly 200,000 Americans are admitted to the emergency room annually for bathroom related injuries. Because of slippery surfaces, a lack of steady objects to grab onto, hard tile flooring and walls, hard porcelain toilets and tubs, the chances of being severely injured in a bathroom fall are greater than falls in other parts of the home. The good news is that bathroom falls can often be prevented by taking a few basic precautionary measures. Most bathroom-related falls occur when:
- An individual is climbing or moving into or out of the shower or bathtub
- A person is either sitting down or getting up from the toilet
- A person is walking around on a slippery floor attempting to use inadequate objects to steady themselves- like flimsy towel bars or countertops.
- If you worry about your own bathroom safety, or the safety of a loved one, it’s time to take some measures that could prevent a debilitating injury.
INSTALL GRAB BARS
As previously mentioned, many seniors use towel bars or other surfaces for support when moving around in the bathroom. Instead, grab bars should be installed in places that are convenient to reach, especially when entering or leaving a shower or bathtub.
USE A SHOWER CHAIR
Shower chairs can be useful for individuals who have a hard time balancing or difficulty standing. Most quality shower chairs have rubber tips on the legs to prevent the chair from slipping around. If used in addition to a hand-held shower faucet, all showering can be done from a seated position.
INSTALL A BATH LIFT
Bath lifts allow people with limited mobility the ability to take a bath while maintaining their independence in the bathroom. Bath lifts are placed or installed in the bathtub and can recline to any angle, based on an individual’s bathing needs, and when used in conjunction with grab bars and non-slippery surfaces, can greatly decrease the chance of falls and discomfort.
RAISED TOILET SEATS
Many seniors and people with limited mobility find it difficult to lower themselves onto a low toilet seat. It can be even more difficult to rise to a standing position, especially when arm and leg strength is reduced. Raised toilet seats reduce the amount of bending and reduce the distance to the toilet. Many raised toilet seats come with grab bars, which can greatly increase a person’s safety.
Additionally, if it’s difficult for a person to travel to the bathroom, raised bedside commodes can be used in any room of the house.
- Install non-slip adhesive strips on sink edges
- Put toiletries within reach
- Make light switches, door handles and faucets more accessible
- Keep bathroom clean
- Use rubber non-slip mats and rugs.
- If you or a loved one has limited mobility and you want to improve your bathroom safety, call Budget Construction Company at (773) 283-9200 today to discuss your needs.