How to Make Your Bathroom Safer for Seniors
The bathroom isn’t just the most frequently used room in a home. It’s the most dangerous, as well!
Every year about 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom. Almost 14 percent are hospitalized.
Some of these injuries are preventable. You can make your bathroom a safer place with the some simple changes and precautions.
Typical Bathroom Hazards
Bathrooms can be a dangerous place for seniors, specifically those with balance issues. Common hazards include:
- Slippery floors in showers and bathtubs
- Shower chairs that are not slip-resistant
- Higher entryways into the shower or tub
- Insufficiently secured grab bars or towel racks
5 Great Ways to Make Your Bathroom Safer
Just a few simple changes in your bathroom can make all the difference when creating a safer bathroom environment.
1. Install a walk-in bathtub.
A walk-in bathtub is a great option for seniors who do not want to take the risk of falling while getting into or out of the tub.
Walk-in tubs have doors that allow users to walk in and sit down without having to worry about climbing over a traditional tub ledge. Although walk-in tubs are an investment, they will help seniors live more independently with less worry about slips and falls in the bathroom.
2. Install grab bars and shower safety handles.
Water and slippery surfaces will always be around in a bathroom. To help with balance, you can install grab bars and safety handles in almost all areas of the bathroom. Grab bars are mostly used to help people get in and out of showers or bathtubs. They are also placed near the toilet to aid in sitting and standing.
One item to keep in mind is that not all grab bars meet the exact specifications required to bear the weight of repeated usage. The length of the bar, the diameter, and the bar position are all factors you should consider.
3. Install a zero- or low-profile entry shower.
Choosing to replace an existing tub with a low-profile or walk-in shower can truly accommodate seniors or those with disabilities.
A walk-in shower is made specifically for ease of entry and exit, just like a walk-in tub. Since a bathtub’s edge can be hard to navigate for someone with reduced mobility, walk-in showers are a great solution because they have a very narrow edge and can even be edge-less, making it easy for wheelchairs to roll in and out.
4. Use non-slip mats.
Not only do non-slip mats minimize the risk of falling but they also allow seniors to navigate the bathroom more easily. To reduce the risk of falling in the tub, place a non-slip mat on the floor of the tub or shower, specifically a mat that has a non-slip surface. Falls from standing in a slippery tub are entirely preventable with a good mat, and happen to be very inexpensive too!
Place non-slips rugs in front of the tub, shower, toilet, and sink. These are the areas in the bathroom where seniors are most likely to fall.
5. Install a hand-held shower head.
Installing the correct shower equipment can help reduce the risk of falling in the shower or bathtub. Handheld shower wands are flexible and now come with numerous features specifically designed for older users to reduce unnecessary movement and effort.
For those with arthritis, turning the shower on and off is often a problem, so look for a shower handle with an on/off switch. Some shower heads have adjustable spray patterns to provide a gentler stream for sensitive skin. Shower heads with a longer hose length allow for extra movement and ease of use.
To learn more about how our team at Your Bath can help you create a safer bathroom environment, please contact us today!