Home should be the safest place on earth. Yet, bathrooms are among the most dangerous spaces at home for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that fall-related deaths increased 30% among seniors between 2007 and 2016 and that a quarter of seniors over 65 experience a fall each year. So, how can we keep our seniors safe? Below, we discuss elder-proof bathroom solutions for seniors and talk about what you can do to protect your loved one.
The Most Common Bathroom Hazards
In bathrooms that haven’t yet been elderproofed, the risk of a fall is multiplied. Consumer Affairs reports that 80% of falls in the home occur in the bathroom. In fact, slippery surfaces in bathrooms cause the majority of the problems. Some seniors may slip while attempting to get into or out of the shower. They may also experience difficulties when attempting to sit down or get up from the toilet.
The first step in elderproofing a bathroom involves identifying areas with the greatest risks. Common bathroom hazards for seniors include:
- Bathtubs that are difficult to get into or out of
- Low toilets that make the process of sitting down and getting up a challenge
- Showers without grab bars in strategic places, which increases the risk of falls
- Slippery floors that increase the chances of slipping
Elder-proof Bathroom Solutions For Seniors
If seniors have trouble balancing or lifting their legs, they may have a hard time climbing in and out of a standard bathtub. A walk-in tub can solve this problem. It allows seniors to open a door in the side of the bathtub. Instead of climbing in, your loved one can just step into the tub.
Non-slip tiles are another important bathroom feature. They make it possible for seniors to stand or move around in a tub or shower safely. Look for tiles that score 0.42 or higher, based on the North American Tile Council’s DCOF AcuTest® criteria for slip resistance.
Shower Grab Bars
Nowhere is the need for support more critical than in the shower. Grab bars provide seniors an increased means of stability. They make getting in and out of the shower less challenging. Seniors will also feel safer while showering. Grab bars should not be confused with towel bars, however. Unlike towel bars, grab bars are meant to support a person’s weight.
Shower or Bath Chairs
Shower or bath chairs make showering easier for seniors who have trouble standing for long periods. Basically, they make showering a less tiring process. They also provide stability for seniors who struggle with balance issues or poor muscle function, both of which can make showering a nerve-wracking experience.
Finally, shower chairs provide a particularly important psychological benefit: they relieve anxiety about falling. For seniors who require assistance from a caregiver, a shower chair usually makes the process of bathing a more comfortable experience for both parties.
Raised Toilet Seats and Toilet Grab Bars
Toilet bowl height makes an important difference. A toilet seat that’s a comfortable height makes standing up a less risky endeavor for seniors with poor balance or muscle function.
A raised toilet seat can increase the height of a toilet by up to 4 inches. The idea is to shorten the distance needed to reach a sitting position. This will reduce the risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Meanwhile, toilet grab bars can help a senior maintain balance when sitting down or getting up. You can also mount safety rails around the toilet.
Bright Multiple Lighting Fixtures
Poor lighting may be remedied with the use of brighter lights to help seniors with poor vision better navigate surfaces. Also, a night light or motion light can help a senior find their way to the bathroom in the dark. You’ll want to install multiple motion lights in strategic areas, rather than just a conventional overhead light.
David York Supports Elder-Proof Bathroom Solutions For Seniors
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