7 Bathroom Safety Tips for SeniorsPublished on Monday June 1, 2020
The bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in a home, especially for seniors. According to National Institute on Aging (NIA) statistics, one out of every four Americans over the age of 65 have a fall annually and more than 1.6 million older Americans end up in the emergency room due to fall-related injuries. Up to 80 percent of these falls occur in the bathroom.
Bathroom safety for seniors is absolutely critical. Injuries due to bathroom falls can range from mild to severe, but implementing a few bathroom safety precautions for our elderly loved ones can significantly reduce fall risk.
Why Are Bathrooms Dangerous for Seniors?
Bathrooms contain small spaces, hard surfaces, and sharp corners. They often involve a lot of sitting down, standing up, and turning around. Dizziness, loss of balance, changes in blood pressure, dropped items, and more all present risks to seniors.
It doesn’t take much to cause a devastating fall. That’s what makes bathroom safety for older people so important. Make sure you make all the necessary upgrades so you can to protect your seniors and ensure their bathroom is as safe as possible.
Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors
1. Replace the Bathtub with a Shower
Having a bathtub might be a luxury for some of us, but for seniors, it presents a bit of an obstacle. Tubs are much harder to get in and out of, shower in, and clean, which only increases the risk of falls for seniors. A helpful bathroom safety measure for elderly people is simply to replace any bathtubs in bathrooms with a walk-in shower. These are far easier to access, thereby reducing the risk of falls.
2. Keep the Floor Dry
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to increase bathroom safety for older people. Wet or damp floors are a slipping and falling hazard to anyone, but they become much more dangerous for seniors since a fall can be much more devastating to elderly bones.
Be sure there are bath mats to soak up water near the shower, sink, and toilet area and keep an eye out for any leaks. Don’t use throw mats, since these slip and bunch up easily, but rather consider rugs or mats with grips on the back so they don’t become a tripping hazard.
3. Install Grab Bars
Grasping for something to save your balance is an instinctual response for anyone who doesn’t want to fall. Make this easier on your senior by installing grab bars in and around your shower so they have something to rely on.
This gives your senior a trustworthy grip while they’re entering and exiting the shower, as well as something to lean on while they shower. This can reduce the chance of slipping and better protect them against a fall. Installing a grab bar near the toilet can also be hugely helpful and aid with balance.
4. Install Shower Seating
The risk of falling increases when one’s walking surface is damp, so to reduce this risk and increase bathroom safety for seniors, try installing seating in the shower. There are many different styles of bath seating available to suit not only your senior’s needs, but the bathroom style as well.
5. Upgrade Your Showerhead
Upgrading your traditional showerhead to a hand-held option can help reduce the stress and risk of shower time for seniors, especially if there is shower seating for them as well. This can allow a senior to sit comfortably while washing thoroughly.
6. Use Non-Slip Mats
Putting some non-slip mats in the bathroom can help seniors navigate the space much easier, whether they’re placed in the shower to make it less slippery or non-slip rugs are placed outside the shower to help soak up any water that drips. Making walking surfaces as slip-resistant as possible is a crucial element of bathroom safety for elderly people, and non-slip mats are an inexpensive yet effective way to accomplish this.
7. Make Sure All Essentials Are Easily Accessible
Don’t make the soaps and shampoo hard to reach. Convenient shelving that is within arm’s reach will make it much easier for a senior to navigate the shower and reduces tripping hazards created by leaving bottles on the shower floor. Mounted dispensers for soap or shampoo is another viable option since these are easy to refill and don’t run the risk of falling off of shelves, creating a bigger hazard.
Ready for a Bathroom Safety Upgrade?
Upgrading your tub to a shower or installing safety precautions for seniors might sound like a big job, but it truly doesn’t have to be. The Long Baths™ team causes little to no disruption to your routine by working hard to finish your tub to shower conversion. Visit us online today to get a quote or schedule a free, in-home consultation.
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