The typical person spends a minimal portion of their day in the bathroom getting ready for their day, using the facilities, brushing their teeth etc., but most people don’t think of the dangers lurking in a bathroom when it comes to the elderly.
In 2015 alone, more than one in four older adults reported falling and more than 28,000 older adults died as a result of falls – that’s 74 older adults every day.
A lack of things to grab onto (such as grab bars), slippery wet floors, and getting up from the toilet are just a few of the risk factors most people don’t think about being dangerous, but can really be detrimental to the elderly. Statistically speaking up to 80% of falls in the home happen in the bathroom.
The good news is there are precautions and steps to take to help keep aging loved ones safe in the bathroom.
Install a Grab Bar:
An easy and inexpensive fix to keep a bathroom safer is to install a permanent grab bar in the shower or bathtub. Seniors getting in and out of the shower can be dangerous since they would have to stand on one leg while raising their other leg up and over the tub all on a slippery surface. Having a grab bar to hang on to and balance on is much safer and can prevent a fall. Most home improvement stores offer a number of grab bars in various sizes and finishes. Grab bars range anywhere between 5” – 50” and from $12 – $50. A grab bar is a relatively easy and cheap fix to guarantee higher safety while getting in and out of the shower.
Implement a Shower Chair:
The possibility of falling while in the shower can be daunting for seniors. A once simple task now has the ability to cause anxiety due to the chance of falling in the shower or bath. By providing safety (a secure area), shower chairs and bath chairs are especially useful for those that are in wheelchairs, the elderly, or anyone who finds excessive movement painful or difficult. Bath and shower chairs range anywhere from $30 to $300 depending on the quality and complexity of the chair.
Eliminate Slippery Surfaces:
We’ve already covered the fact that elderly have a hard time getting in and out of the shower or bath. Having a non-slip mat (or decals) on the floor of the shower or bath as well as a non – slip rug on the floor when stepping out of the shower or bath helps reduce slipping and falling on hard bathroom tiles.
Non – slip Adhesive strips are also a great addition to the bathroom, specifically placed on the top of sink edges to guard against hand slippage if these surfaces are used for balance support. For less than $20, installing non-slip mats or non-slip adhesive strips are a sensible precaution to provide stable footing and balance.
Take a look at your aging loved ones bathroom and implement these easy and inexpensive safeguards to make sure they feel safe and secure while doing everyday tasks.