Bathroom Safety For Seniors
Bathroom safety is an important factor for all seniors. Every year one out 3 people beyond the age of 65,suffer an accidental fall. Most of these incidents occur while at home. However, the majority of the falls don't develop into an affliction, except for the inconsequential bruise or banged up knee. On the other hand, falling in the bathroom area creates a different element to the entire situation.
Bathrooms continue to be the most dangerous room in the house. The bathroom is unrelenting with water and slick areas, and minor things to hold onto, thus increasing the likelihood for damage to yourself. These fall related injuries encompass minor cuts, scrapes and bruises to the more serious injuries. These vicious injuries can include broken arms, legs, hip fractures, head wounds, and spinal cord injuries.
Are You Susceptible to Falls in Your Bathroom
The bathroom leads up to over 80% of falls that occur within the home. Anybody stands an increased chance of slipping and falling in the bathroom, due to the lack of deteriorating muscle strength and imbalance. If you have suffered a fall in the past, the risk for another fall occurring stands to be even higher. With that being said, majority of falls happen while:
Transferring from flat ground to the shower or tub.
The imbalance of getting up and down from a toilet seat.
Moving around in the bathroom and aiming to make use of hazardous handles such as, towel racks, sink tops or other objects to try and counteract the lack of balance.
Conditional factors such as environmental hazards aid in the risk of slipping and falling. These insufficient areas include:
Unsecured towel racks that could snap off the wall when used for bracing one's fall.
Shower stools and shower chairs that don't come designed as being slip proof.
Bathtubs that are built too high to get in and out without some form of help for balance.
Shower doors that are not secured and prevented from moving unexpectedly when getting in and out of the shower or tub.
Wet and slick bathtub and shower floors.
Floor tiles that are predominantly slick, especially when they become wet.
Toilet seats that are extremely low which make it difficult to rise up from.
In order to reduce the risks associated with falling, one must install certain bathroom safety features. With that being said, renovations involving an elderly person's bathroom should include some of the following adaptive safety options:
- Grab Bars- These bars should be placed at easy to reach areas that enables optimal support and balance while entering and exiting the shower/tub area.
- Tension Pole- Tension poles are attached to the floor and ceiling for a more permanent fit, giving the person something very stable something for balance and support.
- Shower Stools/ Chairs- The shower chair/stool provides instant balance and stability for people who have a hard time standing and sitting in the shower or tub. A well equipped shower chair/stool has rubber tipped legs that prevent it from sliding, while the individual sits on it.
- Tub Side Grab Bar- The properly installed tub grab bar on the side of the tub can supply enormous amounts of balance and support. These clamp on grab bars are constructed for just about any designed tub and can effortlessly be fastened without doing any damage to the tub.
- Raised Toilet Seats- Elevated toilet seat risers give the individual about 3-5" of height , thus decreasing the amount of squatting that is needed to use the toilet.
Assisted Caregiving- Individuals who encounter dizziness incidents when transitioning to the up position too quickly, might find it advantageous to have someone close by when cleaning/showering.
Routine Cleaning Schedule- Routinely ridding showers and tubs of soap scum and mildew can reduce the slippery coating that forms as a result of these substances. Also, be sure to avoid clutter in the bathroom to prevent tripping.
Medical Alert System- A medical alert system that has direct contact with 911 emergency operators and local family members. This devices needs to be waterproof and able to be worn in the shower.
Proper Lighting- Walkways to and from the bedroom and bathroom need to be well lit, possibly using motion sensor lights. The lack of proper lighting can cause unnecessary falls to occur.