Creating a Safe Bathroom Environment for Seniors
Bathroom accidents are common no matter how old you are, but they are especially dangerous for people over 65. Consumer Affairs reports that 80 percent of falls happen in bathrooms and the CDC states that falling is the primary cause of injury among the elderly. In other words, the bathroom should be a priority when making a living space safer for an elderly loved one.
Why are bathrooms dangerous? They contain smooth porcelain surfaces that are slippery even when dry but will be especially so when wet. Getting into and out of a shower or bathtub involves balancing on one leg, which heightens the risk of a fall for an individual with balance issues or muscle weakness. Also, standard toilets are low to the ground, which makes squatting and standing difficult. These are just a few of the problems that make bathrooms hazardous for the elderly, but they are easy to remedy. Use any or all of the modifications below to senior proof a bathroom:
Raised Toilet Seats
A raised toilet seat elevates the toilet by several inches, making it easier to stand up. Sitting down is easier as well since the distance to travel is shorter. Raised toilet seats are better for anyone who has difficulty standing or sitting down due to lower body weakness.
Standard bathrooms have few sturdy surfaces that a senior can hold onto to maintain or regain their balance. The lack of places to hold onto can make getting into or out of the shower or bathtub a tricky maneuver. Well-positioned grab bars make moving around in a bathroom or a bathtub much easier for an elderly individual. A grab bar on or near the toilet is another valuable feature that allows seniors to avoid falls and thus use the bathroom independently.
A non-slip mat on the outside of the bathtub or shower is another valuable feature for preventing falls. It removes the danger of a slippery surface and from skidding that might occur with a towel or regular bath mat.
Walk-in Tubs/Curbless Showers
As noted above, getting into or out of a shower can place a senior at a greater risk of slipping and falling. Removing the obstacle over which they must step will lessen the risk of a fall. A walk-in tub has a side door that can be opened for seniors to step in without having to step over; similarly, a curbless shower does not require them to lift their legs to get in.
Falls often result from bending over or stretching to reach soap or shampoo. Placing toiletries within easy reach can lessen the fall risk. A shower caddy is a simple and cost-effective tool for putting toiletries right there in the bathtub or shower. Dispensers mounted within the shower or tub are even safer since there is no risk of an elderly user dropping an item and having to bend to pick it up.
The steps above can help with creating a safe environment for seniors who want to age in place. Along with making an elder loved one safer, a senior-proofed bathroom helps them to retain their independence and can relieve their anxieties about falling.
Worried About a Senior Loved One in Logansport, IN?
At Pleasant Escape, we believe that a senior living community should be home-like, safe, and provide resources for both you are your senior loved one. To learn about our community, call us today; 574-516-1567