The bathroom is a surprisingly dangerous place. About 235,000 people over age 15 visit emergency rooms every year due to an injury in the bathroom. The majority of those injuries are experienced by seniors.
With statistics like that, it’s no wonder that seniors over the age of 65 are worried about visiting the bathroom in their own home. It doesn’t have to be this way! There are plenty of things you can do to make your bathroom as fall-proof as possible.
- Use non-slip floor mats
Slips and falls frequently occur in the bathroom because it’s a slippery place. It’s easy to lose your footing when linoleum, tile, and acrylic becomes wet. There’s an easy solution—use non-slip floor mats.
Use a non-slip mat in front of the sink and in front of the toilet. Make sure you place one in front of the tub or shower. You can also purchase non-slip stickers that can be placed directly in the tub or shower. The lower profile the mats, the less likely they are to become a tripping hazard themselves.
- Install handrails
When you think of slips and falls in the bathroom, getting in and out of the tub is likely to come to mind, but did you know that accidents are just as likely to occur around the toilet?
When it comes down to it, getting up and down, whether in the tub or on the toilet, is just asking for trouble. Installing handrails is an easy solution. Make sure you install a handrail in the tub or shower, and position another one by the toilet.
- Keep accessories handy
Slipping and falling becomes a lot more likely the more time you spend in the bathroom. If you can reduce the time spent bending, stretching, and searching for bathroom items and accessories, you can drastically reduce the possibility of experiencing a fall.
Cut out the clutter in the shower and make sure soap, shampoo, and washrags are within easy reach. Keep toothbrushes and toothpaste on the sink and place brushes and hairstyling accessories in an easy-access drawer. Avoid putting frequently used items under the sink, in lower drawers, or on upper shelves in the cabinet.
- Install night lights
Frequent urination is a problem for many seniors. That means spending more time in the bathroom, but it also means midnight trips are a common occurrence. If the bathroom wasn’t dangerous enough by day, shuffling to the bathroom in the dark at night increases the chances of injury even more.
Line the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom with night-lights. You should also use a nightlight in the bathroom to decrease the likelihood of fumbling around in the dark, which can lead to accidents.
- Upgrade the tub or shower
Although it may not fit into everyone’s budget, it’s well worth your time to consider upgrading your tub or shower.
Traditional bathing spaces aren’t made with seniors in mind. Tubs require you to step in and out of a large basin, while most showers feature a lip or threshold that’s easy to trip over.
In contrast, walk-in tubs feature a swinging door and a convenient seat so you never have to crawl in and out of a deep basin. Roll-in showers are barrier-free, making them a great choice for seniors and those with disabilities or mobility issues.
If a complete remodel isn’t possible, consider installing a bathing lift. A simple seat in the shower can also help.
Have a medical alert pendant with you in the bathroom
No matter how fall-proof your bathroom is, accidents can happen anyway. Make sure you get the help you need when you need it by taking your medical alert pendant with you every time you go in the bathroom. You may also want to consider installing an extra emergency button near the toilet or bathtub.
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