Bathrooms are hazardous places for seniors. The floors are slippery, the surfaces are wet, and the fixtures (tubs, toilets, sinks) are made of hard materials. When a slip or fall happens in the bathroom, there’s a good chance that some part of the body will not only hit the floor but also that ahead, knee or shoulder will hit a cabinet or fixture.
Studies have shown that 60% of all injury-related emergency room visits for people age 65 and older are caused by falls, and as many as 80% of those falls in the home happen in the bathroom. Fall-related injuries can range from minor bruises to broken bones and severe head and spinal cord injuries.
Most falls in the bathroom happens while seniors are getting in or out of the bathtub or shower, or while using the toilet. Small bathroom rugs and slick tile floors are also tripping hazards and can cause older adults to fall when they visit the bathroom to brush their teeth or wash their hands.
Adding Safety Features to a Senior’s Bathroom
Installing safety features in your loved one’s bathroom is relatively easy and inexpensive. Here are eight ways you can reduce slip and fall accidents in the bathroom for your senior:
Falls often occur when seniors get in and out of the tub or shower or stand up after using the toilet. Place a non-slip mat on the shower or bathtub floor and a non-slip rug on the floor outside the tub or shower. Non-slip mats, instead of fluffy rugs, are also safer in front of the toilet and the sink.
Use a shower chair so your senior can sit while showering to prevent slips and falls. Make sure the chair has a non-slip seat and rubber tips on the feet so it won’t slide in the tub or shower.
For seniors who need assistance stepping out of the bathtub, a bath or transfer bench can help. The bench extends over the side of the tub with two legs resting on the floor. Seniors can sit on the bench, swing their legs over the side of the tub, and stand more safely.
Raised Toilet Seat
Install a raised toilet seat, which raises the seat height by 3 to 4 inches. It reduces the effort needed to sit and stand when using the toilet.
Place shelves at eye level in the bathroom for toiletries so seniors don’t have to reach up into a cabinet or bend down to look inside the vanity to get shampoo, toilet paper, air freshener, etc.
Clean the bathroom regularly. Soap scum and build-up from condensation can leave surfaces slippery. Scrub tubs, showers, grab bars, and mats regularly to prevent a slick residue build-up.
Use a nightlight or motion-sensor lighting to ensure seniors have adequate light for nighttime visits to the bathroom. Also, use a nightlight in any hallway along the path to the bathroom from the bedroom or living areas.
The caregivers at Dependable Senior Care have helped over 1,500 seniors in South Florida stay safe at home. We’ll assist your senior loved one with visits to the bathroom and help with personal care like bathing, dressing, and toileting.
Call us today or inquire online. We’re here to help keep your loved one safe and happy at home.