Bathrooms are a necessity for young and old alike. Unfortunately, they aren’t always safe.
The statistics on bathroom safety for elderly seniors isn’t pretty.
The National Institute on Aging has declared that more than one-third of senior citizens over 65 years of age fall in any given year. Over 80% of the falls take place in the bathroom. The study also revealed that the more seniors age, the more at risk they are to have a bathroom accident.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that over 200,000 Americans go to the emergency room each year for injuries encountered in the bathroom.
Common Causes of Bathroom Accidents
Slips and falls are the dominating accidents that seniors encounter. Many mishaps take place while in the bathtub or shower, Slippery mats and other slippery surfaces in and around the bathtub and shower area account for many falls. The lack of adequate senior safety accessories in the bathroom contributes to the lack of safety in bath and shower for elderly adults too.
In addition to poor safety measures for aging seniors, medical factors such as having mobility reduction, loss of muscle coordination, and waning eyesight are culprits for bathroom accidents. Decreasing strength and poor health coupled with slippery conditions in bathtubs and shower areas are a breeding ground for injuries.
Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors
Bathroom safety for seniors is a subject that should be addressed by family or a caretaker when an aging person is still independent enough to use the toilet, bath, or shower on their own. Prevention of such events is a must. Below you will find excellent bathroom tips and suggestions for senior safety:
- Install an emergency system in the bathroom near the shower and/or bathtub that will contact help in the event of a fall.
- Subscribe to a senior alert management system.
- Consider a special seat or shower chair for seniors who suffer from weak muscles when standing.
- Slip mats should be placed in the shower and bathtub to prevent falls.
- A raised toilet seat makes getting up and down easier.
- Towel bars should be reinforced to the wall in case it is ever grabbed during a fall.
- A bathtub with a high ledge is hazardous for seniors so a shower is a better option.
- Toiletries should be in easy reach at all times.
- Raised shower ledges can pose a hazard so be sure to bring awareness to that fact.
- Rugs on the floor that don’t lay flat can be a risk for a fall or tripping injury.
- Toilets should be kept clean and dry and the area around them should be free of clutter.
- Be sure to have good lighting in the bathroom and the shower and bathtub area as well.
- Check out all the tub or shower safety accessories and products that are available.
- Consider installing a transfer bench to provide easy dressing, undressing, and drying off.
- Be sure to install grab bars near the toilet and in tubs and showers.
- Never lock the bathroom door. An “occupied” sign can be hung on the door for privacy instead.
- Hang the door so that it swings out, allowing a caregiver or emergency personnel to get in if there is an emergency.
- Search online to find support assistance articles to read concerning senior safety in the bathroom.
- If you are a caregiver to dementia or Alzheimer patient, you can find a myriad of information online for special care instructions and suggestions.
Shower Safety for Elderly Adults
Many older people prefer to take a shower. Doing so requires one to stand, however, which can be a problem for those who are feeble or have medical issues. A firmly intact shower chair is a great option. A well-secured grab bar is imperative for safety.
Bath Safety for Elderly Adults
Taking a bath is a source of relaxation for many aging adults because they relieve aches and pains. They can be therapeutic as well. They are also a dangerous source of slips and falls so safety measures must be in place to prevent injuries. Anti-slip mats and grab bars are required but can pose hazards of their own. Anti-skid mats must be laid flat and suctioned to the tub and grab bars must be sturdy and safely secured to the wall.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some great questions that raise awareness concerning general bathroom safety concerning aging adults:
How can I make my bathroom safe for seniors?
Most of the issues encountered by aging people are caused by falling due to lack of balance, slipping, and tripping. You can learn to prevent such accidents and injuries by making the floor, shower, and bathtub less hazardous. Placing slip-resistant mats in the bathtub and shower is one of the most effective measures you can take. Non-slip adult bath and shower seats are helpful as well.
Are bath mats safe?
While bath mats can pose tripping hazards, they can also prevent slips. If you choose to use one, be sure it is made of good quality materials and that suctions to the surface of the tub flatly and securely. Of course, the contact surface should be slip-free too. You will also want to be certain it is clear of mold and mildew or a whole host of problems can be introduced otherwise.
How do I keep from slipping in my tub?
A mat that prevents slips is an excellent measure to take. Bath and shower chairs are great as well.
Where should grab bars be placed in a bathroom?
Grab bars can be positioned in full view by the toilet, shower, bathtub, and the sink so they can be easily accessed in the event of an emergency.
Which is safer, a shower or a bath?
While many feel safer in a bathtub because they don’t have to stand for an extended time, the ledge of a tub can be difficult when getting in and out. A shower can pose a threat due to having to stand but when a shower chair is used, it is generally the safest way to go. A walk-in tub is an ultimate solution but purchasing and installing one can be quite costly.
Bathroom safety for seniors is one of the most serious subjects that need to be addressed in aging adults. Taking time to implement safety options for seniors is a must.
With the tips above and the resources of advice from senior services, you can reduce the risk of bathroom accidents and help ensure you or your loved one has the best chance for a healthy life in the golden years.